Hackers Switch Election Day at GMU

Posted November 4, 2008 at 11:52am

Apparently pollsters aren’t the only ones with a close eye on Virginia voters.

Early Tuesday, hackers broke into the George Mason University computer system and sent out a mass e-mail from the Provost’s Office stating that Election Day had been moved to Wednesday, Nov. 5.

The e-mail, addressed to the entire university community and signed by Provost Peter Stearns, notes that Election Day was bumped back by a day and apologizes “for any inconvenience this may cause you.”

The e-mail was sent out at 1:16 a.m. Tuesday.

The real Stearns sent a follow-up e-mail at 8:08 a.m. stating that the message was a scam and that someone had hacked the system.

“I am sure everybody realizes this is a hoax, it is also a serious offense and we are looking into it. Please be reminded that election day is today, November 4th,” Stearns wrote.

Prior to the fraudulent message going out, Stearns appeared to have caught wind of a hoax in the works and sent an e-mail at 12:41 a.m. to quell what he described as “troubling rumors.”

“Here are a couple of facts: 1. The election is Nov. 4, for all political parties. The notion that one party votes Nov. 5 is UNTRUE. 2. It is also UNTRUE that any student jeopardizes financial aid by voting,” the e-mail said.