Shortly before 8 p.m. on February 14, unauthorized changes began appearing on the website, having to do with simply “changing the names of stuff” according to Andrew Forgione, University Students’ Council president.
“We only have four people who had access to the server, and one of those people’s accounts was compromised, so some individual was fooling around with the server,” Forgione explained.
Eliot Hong, communications officer for the USC, noted that as of Tuesday evening, the USC has restricted access to the site to all users but Geoff Pimlat, senior manager media and communications for the USC, effectively cutting off the three other individuals who had access until the investigation is over.
Currently, it appears that polls and voting were not affected by the hack, but Forgione declared ITS would be investigating the situation regardless.
“On our end, we have a tally of all the ballots. We also have a tally of what ballots were added, modified or deleted. Based on what we’ve seen, it looks like nothing has been compromised,” Hong said.
The duration of the “hack” lasted for roughly 10 minutes before ITS began acting upon it.
“Every time Geoff took it down, someone was still compromising it—[repainting] the name or [redirecting] the [“vote here”] link. They still weren’t actually getting into the system, just changing the aesthetics of the site and the visual layout,” Forgione said.
According to Hong, one of the changes observed was a reference to Justin Bieber.
“Students are still able to vote, you might just see some additional comments after someone’s name,” Hong said. “But overall, there has been no compromise to the actual elections process.”
Read updates from the USC’s site here.