Job offers, memes, shock sites and spam. That’s what happens when you give Stanford’s computer science majors – the tech-savvy undergraduates of Stanford’s most popular department – unrestricted access to a departmental mailing list.
In a flaw apparently discovered by a spambot and subsequently exploited by students, any email sent to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org was disseminated to every computer science undergraduate from approximately 1:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The issue has since been resolved.
Students used the listserv to do anything from offering start-up jobs to their peers to embedding deceptively innocuous links to shock sites like Meatspin in emails purportedly meant to help viewers unsubscribe.
“Of course Stanford CS means startups,” one participant complained.
A similar issue struck campus two years ago, when Student Housing inadvertently allowed all undergraduates to post to a shared mailing list, much to the University’s chagrin.