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Hackers claim responsibility for sending hoax email claiming UConn's president had died

FILE: UConn president Radenka Maric greets attendees prior to testifying in at an Appropriations Committee meeting, Feb., 2023, in the Legislative Office Building about the proposed state budget cuts to UConn funding.
Mark Mirko
Connecticut Public
FILE, 2023: UConn president Radenka Maric greets attendees before testifying at an Appropriations Committee meeting in the Legislative Office Building about the proposed state budget cuts to UConn funding.

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — A shadowy hacking group has taken responsibility for breaching the University of Connecticut's network and sending an email to the community that claimed the school's president had died.

The hoax email, sent early Wednesday morning, went to everyone on the school's undergraduate listserv informing students of the “Unfortunate Passing of Radenka Maric.”

A hacking group called “SiegedSec" claimed responsibility. The group has also claimed responsibility for hacking government websites in several states that it said on its Telegram channel were targeted for acting to ban gender-affirming care.

In an online chat interview with The Hartford Courant, a person claiming to be the group's leader said the UConn break-in was not political. Instead, he did it “for the lulz,” the pure hacker pleasure of showing it could be done.

He said the group was able to get the username and password for the UConn Daily Digest email account in publicly available data on a source code repository platform. He said the system did not have a two-factor authentication system, allowing them to log in and send the email.

Stephanie Reitz, the school's spokeswoman, said the school has taken corrective action to prevent a repeat of the hack.

“UConn’s IT department removed the messages from in-boxes (Wednesday) morning, determined the avenue used to gain access, and took corrective action to prevent it from recurring,” she said. "IT and UConn Police are investigating the incident.”

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