University of Western Sydney Hacked

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Australia's University of Western Sydney (UWS) has acknowledged that a UWS e-mail list was recently breached.

"The list has been shut down and a full investigation is underway," the university said in a statement. "We would like to assure you that this was limited to the email list and that other than an unfortunate amount of spam, your UWS Account is not under any threat. UWS IT Services apologises for the inconvenience caused and will report back with further information following the investigation."

"However, some students have reported receiving 300 spam emails as a result of the incident," writes Softpedia's Eduard Kovacs. "According to Mahmoud Elkhodr, an associate lecturer at the University of Western Sydney, one of the spam emails criticized the university’s iPad Initiative -- a program started by the institution in an effort to support learning and teaching innovations."

The spam e-mail shared by Elkhodr states, "This so-called iPad initiative is nothing more than a marketing gimmick (internally referred to as the 'Direct offer plan') built on the idea that potential students are ignorant enough to gamble their education in exchange for a $500 piece of technology that will be out-dated before their first year of studies, provided they do not leave or transfer, is over. The sad part in all of this is that the tablet they've chosen to gift the students is not only the most expensive to maintain, nor is it just fundamentally and significantly overpriced for the technical specifications it carries, but it is also extremely locked down in terms of scalability. Apple refuses to allow things such as saving files (other than photos), rendering Flash-based websites and videos, and does not even have a decent office suite available. It is no more than a toy, and for some reason UWS seems to think that the ability to play Angry Birds during lectures and tutorials will somehow provide a better learning experience."

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