The University College London (UCL) has hit the news for all the wrong reasons after a prankster allegedly accessed an old email address of provost Michael Arthur and mass spammed over 30,000 students with a message simply entitled "Bello".
The incident dubbed #Bellogate trended in the UK throughout the early hours this morning with nocturnal students using the prank as a platform to continuously spam each other.
As a result, UCL had to create new web tools in order for those affected to delete the 1,000 spam emails received overnight.
The UCL provost sent out an email to all students saying "bello" and now I'm getting 100s of bello replies #bellogate
— Clement (@Clem109) October 8, 2014
We are aware of large spam volumes on student email. We are investigating and locking down access to all-student lists. Updates to follow. — UCL News (@uclnews) October 9, 2014
The incident led to the university becoming widely mocked online.
I give it another 500 emails before #bellogate becomes sentient. Is this how the machines take over?
— Oli Hutt (@olihutt) October 9, 2014
I reckon bellogate is a ploy to bring UCL into the public eye and take us up to #1 in world rankings — lukeconorbaker (@yourfav0riteson) October 8, 2014
It was not long before the email conversation reached the depths of depravity with one prankster purporting to sign each recipient was signed up for a gay porn site.
— BELLO (@UCLBello) October 9, 2014
The recipients were added to over 100 mailing lists with the highlights including the Sarah Palin TV channel, Coldplay and dating site OK Cupid - in addition to Porn Hub.
Mike Cope, director of the information services division at UCL issued a statement in response to the gaffe which is now trending in the UK, it read: “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.
“UCL is investigating this problem as a matter of urgency. Apologies for the inconvenience that this has caused."