UCL Students Receive Thousands Of Spam Emails In ‘Bellogate’

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Student added to mailing lists of PornHub and UKIP as email addresses are compromises in Bellogate

Students at University College London (UCL) were subject to thousands of unsolicited emails after spammers gained access to an all-student mailing list.

UCL was forced to shut down the mailing list at 9:30 this morning following complaints from students who say they were signed up to mailing lists from the likes of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), One Direction fan groups, and PornHub.

Some students have exacerbated the situation by replying to emails or clicking ‘unsubscribe’ to others.

UCL spam attack

UCL BuildingOne particular message claiming to be from UCL President and provost professor Michael Arthur simply said “bello!” As such, the incident has become known as ‘Bello-gate’ with many using a similar hashtag to vent their frustration or amusement at the thousands of messages in their inbox.

The university says it is investigating the incident and stresses that no student bank details have been stolen. Students have also been provided with instructions on how to delete the messages.

“I am sorry to inform you that overnight, multiple emails (perhaps up to 1,000) have been received by students on an all-student email list,” Mike Cope, director of UCL’s Information Services Division, told students.

“Some of these purport to come from the UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur via the previous Provost’s e-mail address, provost(at)ucl.ac.uk. However, unfortunately, the problem was compounded because replies were posted to the list, and the email address was used to subscribe to various sites.

“UCL ISD are investigating this problem as a matter of urgency.”

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