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December 8, 2022

SGA website hacked, content replaced with Cialis advertisements

By NASH JENKINS | February 5, 2013

The official website of the Hopkins Student Government Association (SGA) was hacked last week by an unknown infiltrator, who replaced official content and documents with advertisements for a popular erectile dysfunction medication.

As of early Thursday morning, a visit to www.jhusga.com reveals that the site is now down for maintenance; a Google search for “JHU SGA,” however, still delivers the hyperlink with an invocation to “buy generic cialis” and “save on discount prescription drugs from Canada with our licensed Canadian pharmacy,” along with a warning stating that the site has been compromised.

The issue first came to the attention of the SGA at their weekly meeting last Tuesday, Junior Class Senator Dylan Gorman said, but the situation has yet to see resolution. The most glaring problem at hand, Gorman said, is that the website operates neither on the Hopkins server nor at the direct behest of SGA officers. Alumnus Kirk Sabnani, a two-term class senator representing the now-graduated Class of 2012, is the website’s sole custodian, several SGA officers said.

“I think it’s pretty apparent that SGA needs to host their own website in a way that we can best manage it,” Gorman said.

Minutes from SGA’s weekly meeting are among the content now replaced by spam; however, several SGA officers described plans from early in the fall semester to shift the website to the Hopkins server and replace Sabnani with a new technology administrator — neither of which have come into fruition.

“It’s unsustainable to have someone doing our website who might not be around for a year. We’ve tried to institutionalize the tech position with a bill in October, but it was tabled and then not brought up. As far as we know, the Executive Board dealt with it by simply making sure Kirk was doing his job,” Senior Class Senator Joanna Gawlik, who first proposed the bill with Gorman last semester, said. “And now we can’t even open our website.”

“The real problem is that SGA is still housed on an external website,” Senior Class President Alexandra Larsen, who first identified the hacking last week, said. “We’re going to try to get it on a .jhu website link.”

It is thus far undetermined when exactly the SGA will resolve the incident.

At Tuesday night’s senate meeting, both the Executive Board and members of the Class Councils sought to address the issue, but with no specific timeline for the corrections.

“They will fix the problem with the index and have it live, and then work on moving it to a JHU platform,” SGA Executive President Moses Song stated at this week’s meeting.

“This is not an issue that just came up now, it has been on the top of the agenda since the beginning of the year,” Executive Vice President junior Alex Schupper said.

The SGA has worked since August with Vice-Provost for Student Affairs Sarah Steinberg on plans to shift the site to the Hopkins server.

Staff Writer Olivia Spector contributed reporting to this story. 

This article was updated on Feb. 7, 2013 for the print edition. 

 

 

 

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