An explicit message and photo were emailed to Baruch students that appeared to originate from the Office of Student Life on Nov. 8. The content of the email consisted of an image of a topless woman, with a link to an external website that appeared in inboxes at 10:27 a.m. The email’s sender was titled as “Baruch Student Life: On behalf of Adeline” and was addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org, which seemed to match the address OSL uses to send mass emails. But the email appeared to be sent from a Brazil-based web address.
“An immediate investigation into the matter has been launched and is ongoing. At this point, we can confirm that no personal information or student data has been compromised,” said Suzanne Bronski, Baruch College director of public relations, in a statement to The Ticker.
The same day, OSL and Art King, vice president of student affairs and dean of students, sent out a statement that said the email “was not sent from our account or from Baruch College, and we deeply regret the situation.”
“It took us some time to ensure who all were compromised — students, faculty, staff — and whether other systems were affected as a result,” King wrote to The Ticker. “After our checks and balances, thank goodness, no other systems or student personal information were impacted.”
An investigation opened into the matter, but there is little information on how student information was accessed, or on who is responsible, as of press time.
“We continue our investigation to get to the bottom of this,” King said.
The emails were deleted from all accounts later in the week. This is in accordance with Baruch’s email policy, as well as Microsoft’s rules for administrators using their software.
Baruch’s website states that by using the college email, students consent to CUNY accessing their emails for administrative, compliance or other purposes.
While administration believes no student information was compromised, whoever sent the email had the ability to message all student accounts.
It was not disclosed in any statement whether or not there will be security changes to prevent this from happening again, or if the perpetrator could send additional emails to accounts. Until the investigation finds an answer, it is yet to be decided whether or not students will have to make changes to the security of their accounts.
“Baruch College remains committed to providing students with a safe environment,” King stated. If students have any questions or concerns about the email, they are encouraged to contact the Office of the Dean of Students at email@example.com.
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