Spammed

NEWS

If you use Blackboard at FAU, you received several e-mails on January 4 asking you to buy textbooks — you were not the only one.

Two nights ago, five students sent eight e-mails advertising books for sale or asking for books to every student at FAU. They did so by exploiting Blackboard, an online classroom system the university uses.

It lets students send files or e-mails to their professors and classmates, have online discussions, check their grades, and take online tests, among other features.

All students are automatically enrolled in an orientation course when they arrive at FAU, and the course lasts as long as they stay. The idea is that students can use the orientation course to play around with the different features of Blackboard and get comfortable using it.

However, administrators overlooked one critical flaw: with the entire university enrolled in the orientation course, anyone could use Blackboard’s “e-mail users” feature to send an e-mail to everyone at FAU. Several enterprising students did just that.

Though an FAU spokeswoman said she was not familiar with what had happened, officials have posted a message on the course’s Blackboard page that reads, “Many people have reported receiving junk email from students who have access to this site … The email tool has now been disabled for this site so that cannot happen again.”

 

Student Reactions

Frustrated with the influx of unwanted e-mail, the writer of this story used the same method to e-mail FAU’s Blackboard population. The message read “Stop using this to sell books. Seriously, just go to Booksmart and stop spamming everyone’s inboxes.”

The message received over 40 replies. Since e-mails sent from FAU addresses are public record, the contents of some of the messages are below. (Note: these are direct, unedited quotes from FAU students.)

“why is this message coming to me!?”

“you are spamming my inbox right now”

” Thank you!”

“I agree.  I’ve been getting these endless emails since yesterday.  These books are for classes which have nothing to do with my major.”

“Would you please educate me on Booksmart – is this an FAU site or a site on the internet to sell books?”

” THANK YOU!! Hahaha”

” 4real..”

“Thank you!  I am freaking sick of these idiots and their spammy book needs.  I got more than 30 emails today, and your email was the only intelligent one of the lot.  I commend you, sir, for sending them to Booksmart, as I was about to send them to Hell.”

“THANK YOU!!!! You spoke for all of us. Now, I just wish they would listen *sigh*”

“Do you know how to stop this emails..”

“Rofl true”

“Oh. That’s BS that ppl can do that. I’m gonna spam them all back n tell em to go fuck themselves.”

“Thank you for this email of wisdom!”

“Dude I hear that! Who’s idea was this?? Lol”

“I keep getting all these damn bb orientation things too. I never sent u anything but u replied to me somehow. Do u know how the hell these ppl are even getting our emails? Its for classes I’m not even in, so I don’t get it.”

“If the man want to do business why not. Don’t be gay”

“I’m not spamming?”

“I agree with Tyler!”

“Seriously.. Thank you.. Just go to chegg.com and rent them.”

“HAHA seriously wtf is this?”

“I agree with you. All thos emails people r sending r so annoying !!”

“me what are you talking about…….spamming people inboxes no…i have no idea what you are talking about………..”

“Good call, it’s madd annoying.”

“Excuse me what are you talking”

” relax and be blessed”

” Tyler – I haven’t sent out ANY emails to anyone at all.”