Student steals ISA e-mail password

A member of the GW Indian community sent a harshly worded e-mail message from the Indian Students’ Association account to ISA members Wednesday after stealing the account’s password, ISA Co-President Rajan Bhaskar said.

The e-mail criticized the “state of the GW Indian scene,” calling it an “aggregate of divided cliques united only in name and apathy for each other.” The message also said the group neglects the “rich heritage” of India in favor of the “malicious and petty politics surrounding Indian parties.”

The author of the e-mail, whose name ISA members will not release, also wrote about the South Asian Society, though the message was not sent to that group’s e-mail mailing list.

The student who wrote the e-mail sent the message to 100 to 150 members, predominantly of Indian background, Bhaskar said. ISA board members did not receive the e-mail.

Bhaskar said he was alerted of the situation Wednesday evening when an ISA member forwarded the e-mail to a board member.

Brad Reese, director of the Computer Information and Resource Center, said the group’s password may have been obvious to the hacker. The student also may have watched someone type the password or could have been told the password by an ISA member.

With the help of a CIRC administrator, the group was able to uncover the name of the student who logged into the account, Bhaskar said. The sender called some ISA members to explain the situation and said he intended to change back the password Thursday morning, Bhaskar said.

Bhaskar said the case was turned over to Student Judicial Services. Karen Warren, coordinator of Student Judicial Services, said she could not comment on the case.

The ISA incident is not the only example of e-mail hacking at GW. No incidents of staff or faculty password theft have been reported, but Reese said roommates, friends and significant others have logged on to one another’s accounts, sometimes resulting in unfriendly messages.

Bhaskar said he was not as concerned with the theft of the e-mail password as he was with the issues raised.

“The way it was distributed was a little ironic,” said graduate student Rohit Bajaj, a member of the Indian community who received.

A religiously and politically conscious person who is trying to inform the community should not use illegal means to do so, Bajaj said.

“This is good in a way because it sets up system of checks and balances . it tries to awaken the community,” Bajaj said. “But this is a very short-term solution.”

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