By Dylan Freeman-Grist
Several students tampered with Ryerson’s email server Monday night, utilizing the online address fabrication site Deadfake.
com to send over 80 emails from engineering communications coordinator Michelle Colasuonno to all students in the engineering and architecture programs.
The emails ranged from links to pornographic images, insults aimed at faculty members, Breaking Bad spoilers and dismissal of Ryerson’s online security. The students started recieveing multiple messages at roughly 8 p.m. and through until Tuesday morning.
The Eyeopener was able to get into contact with one participant in the prank who wishes to remain anonymous.
The source explained how the group, though not actually working together, managed to change their IP addresses in order to hide the source of their emails and remain untraceable.
“The first message I sent was to tell people to use a proxy instead of just using their internet because people could trace it back,” our source said.
He went on to explain that he was one of the few who saw the initial spam mail and possessed the “know-how” to join in for fun. “I was reading and it seemed like fun so I just wanted to test it and see if it actually worked… there are some people who are doing it and actually trying to find system flaws,” the source said.
One email hinted to the intentions of other participants in the prank: “As a student, I put a lot of trust in Ryerson. Them letting something as easily exploitable as this stick around indicates to me that there could be other security holes, especially because it’s still not been resolved.”
Another such email hinted that this stunt was the tip of the iceberg: “to all of my friends who know at least a thing or two … take a look at Ryerson’s wireless network, you’ll find some shit there that is way more interesting.”
Mugino Saeki, Ryerson’s information security officer, has said that after finding out about the “stunt” her office shut down the email list.
“Any system has some flaw no one is immune to some sort of attack,” said Saeki.
Saeki’s office has also restricted access to Deadfake.com on Ryerson’s server and has called in a forensic investigations team to track down the sources of the emails.
Below, we rounded up some of the reactions online to the prank:
Wow…so the Ryerson engineering email system has been somewhat hacked…there’s like 100 spam emails in my inbox.
— ♣ (@ayemanB) October 1, 2013
Someone hacked ryerson website ahaha this is hilarious !! pic.twitter.com/jFolzefweo
— adam iacobucci (@adamiacobucci) October 1, 2013
— Bassim Khalifa (@Bassimkhalifa) October 1, 2013
To the guy who spoiled breaking bad for those who haven’t seen it, in them ryerson spam emails, you are a monster.
— Austin Ondretti (@ClassicUst) October 1, 2013