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CS majors discover “reply-all” function


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 [email protected] 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.

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Marshall Watkins is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily, having previously worked as the paper's executive editor and as the managing editor of news. Marshall is a junior from London majoring in Economics, and can be reached at mtwatkins "at" stanford "dot" edu.