On March 28, a seemingly innocuous email was sent from the Staples Student Internship Program (SIP) to all seniors enrolled in the program. The email asked seniors “to complete a very short survey at the end of the internship period.”
However, this was no ordinary email. According to Lee Saveliff – head of the internship program – the program’s website was hacked.
“Someone hacked into the website and sent last year’s June email (the internship evaluation) to this year’s seniors and this year’s senior parents,” Saveliff said.
As to why someone would do that, Saveliff is unsure.
“Maybe they had too much free time on their hands,” she joked.
However, Staples students were not fooled by this prankster’s email.
“I knew it wasn’t legit right when I saw it because the subject was ‘IMPORTANT INFORMATION’ and it was asking questions about how I liked the internship (we haven’t even started yet), so I knew something was up,” said Rebecca Finell ’13.
Rachel Shapiro ’13 concurred. “It seemed legitimate except for the fact that the internships hadn’t started yet and when I received the email, I got three or four of the same one, so it kind of seemed sketchy,” she said.
Zach Pensak ’13 added, “I did not respond, as I had nothing to say about an internship I had not done. I can’t tell the future.”
A hacked email could adversely affect the internship program, though according to Saveliff, this hacking did no such thing.
“It didn’t really affect the SIP at all. Since I also have a senior, I also received the parent email and then quickly sent an email to all the parents asking them to ignore it,” Saveliff said.
“Actually, because of the hacked email, and my email that followed, I was able to update about six incorrect parent emails that bounced back as the seniors accidentally inputted incorrect parent emails,” she added.
At this time it is uncertain what the hacker’s purpose was, if he or she even had one. But Saveliff and the internship program are taking cautionary steps to ensure the program’s security. “The IT programmer put a password protection so this will not be able to happen again,” Saveliff said.