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#Bellogate: Thousands of UCL students wake up to UKIP, porn and fan lists after mass email leak

#Bellogate: Thousands of UCL students wake up to UKIP, porn and fan lists after mass email leak
The email system at UCL (University College London) has been hacked, leaving its intranet address book posted online. As a result, all students at UCL were registered to porn sites, One Direction’s fan group and hundreds of other unwelcome lists.

Students awoke on Thursday to find thousands of unexpected email notifications for subscriptions and group lists as diverse as UKIP membership and pornography.

An impostor pretending to be Provost Michael Arthur sent all 26,000 UCL students the same message, which simply says ‘bello!’, sent from provost@ucl.ac.uk to all-students@ucl.ac.uk on Wednesday evening.

An online storm ensued, which saw spam and abuse sent across the entire student body. Meanwhile, the hashtag #bellogate became Twitter’s top UK trend.

Parody Twitter accounts @belloofficial and @UCLbello have also been launched, together with a wash of hilarious memes.

“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. This list has now been closed down as of 9.30 this morning,”said Mike Cope,Director of UCL’s Information Services Division in a statement.

“Some of these purport to come from the UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur via the previous Provost's e-mail address, provost@ucl.ac.uk. However, unfortunately, the problem is now being compounded because students appear to have access to the all-student list, and their emails of complaint at the spamming are now going to all-student recipients.

Cope said UCL ISD are investigating the problem "as a matter of urgency" and attempting to close all access to the affected list.

“In the meantime, please ensure that if you are receiving these emails, you do not respond to the list, as this is compounding the quantity of email being sent,” Cope added.