Hackers target Wash U’s website

On the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 29, anonymous hacking group AnonGhost breached Washington University’s website, posting pro-Palestinian and flagrantly anti-Semitic rhetoric. Word reached university administration by 2:00 p.m.

By 3:50 p.m., the Student Union communicated the following via its Twitter account: “Our site was hacked today along with a handful of other WUSTL sites. We’re actively working to get things fixed. Thanks for your patience.” Eric Suiter, the Student Union’s technology manager, had resolved the situation by 4:45 p.m., overriding the hackers’ messages and returning the university’s domains to their original state.

“There was not a server breach or admin access to our server itself, so the hack was not very severe and was easy to fix,” said Brian Benton, Vice President of Public Relations for the Student Union.

In addition to Wash U’s homepage, AnonGhost had altered the pages of numerous student groups, including the Chinese Students Association, the Association of Black Students and the Diversity Affairs Council.

“This was likely a random hack, since .edu domains are often prime targets. The accessed sites all use WordPress, which uses open source code and has more access points for a hacker, so that type of site is often targeted by bots, too,” said Benton. “Student Union is pleased our website and affiliated student group websites have been restored and want to be clear that we do not endorse any of the views expressed by the organization that hacked our website and apologize for any students that may have been upset by the images or comments that were posted.”