A few hours ago, the University of Western Sydney (UWS) published a statement to inform students that a UWS email list was breached last night.
“The list has been shut down and a full investigation is underway. We would like to assure you that this was limited to the email list and that other than an unfortunate amount of spam, your UWS Account is not under any threat,” UWS representatives stated.
“UWS IT Services apologises for the inconvenience caused and will report back with further information following the investigation.”
However, some students have reported receiving 300 spam emails as a result of the incident.
According to Mahmoud Elkhodr, an associate lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, one of the spam emails criticized the university’s iPad Initiative – a program started by the institution in an effort to support learning and teaching innovations.
As part of this program, all new undergraduate students and academic staff will receive free iPads, but the hackers argued that it was nothing more than a “marketing gimmick.”
“The sad part in all of this is that the tablet they've chosen to gift the students is not only the most expensive to maintain, nor is it just fundamentally and significantly overpriced for the technical specifications it carries, but it is also extremely locked down in terms of scalability,” one of the spam messages read.
“Apple refuses to allow things such as saving files (other than photos), rendering Flash-based websites and videos, and does not even have a decent office suite available. It is no more than a toy, and for some reason UWS seems to think that the ability to play Angry Birds during lectures and tutorials will somehow provide a better learning experience.”