Slot Me Up
It appears that hackers have compromised the University of Arizona's website — and posted a bunch of stuff about what seems to be a Southeast Asian online casino.
On what used to be the catalog site for the UofA's Academic Program Requirements Reports, there is now a bunch of Indonesian-language text and graphics advertising "the best online slots gambling site in Indonesia" (or at least, that's what Google Translate told us it says, anyway.)
While this is neither the first time someone's hacked a university's website nor the first time someone's used a hack to advertise such low-hanging fruit as an internet-based gambling den — in fact, back in 2017, someone switched it up and used a smart fish tank to, somehow, hack into a casino — it's still an excellent example of how easy it apparently is for anyone with a bit of coding knowledge to compromise official sites like American .edus.
Black Hat Academia
If any of this sounds familiar, hackers pulled off a very similar intrusion when they took over a subdomain of Wired.com late last year, replacing it with — you guessed it — another Indonesian online casino. Like that hack, this appears to be some form of DNS trickery, redirecting a subdomain to whatever the attackers want.
Hacking into university sites is apparently so easy that there appears to be something of a cottage industry on the microblogging platform Medium in which computer science students and info security nerds offer step-by-step guides on how they compromised their schools' servers.
Back in 2016, The Verge reported that e-casino boosters hacked into school servers at such prestigious institutions as Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and New York University in a search engine optimization (SEO) scheme to get the gambling sites in question to the top of Google search results.
A whopping 76 sites were affected which were first uncovered by none other than an SEO marketing firm, and as noted around the time of that revelation, the intrusions showcased just how easy it was to hack into academic institutions.
Futurism has reached out to the University of Arizona to both alert them to the apparent hack and to ask for comment. Hopefully they'll be able to fix it soon because, let's face it, this is pretty embarrassing for them.
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