An internet hacker under the pseudonym “Alice Desmond” targeted several DCU students and alumni by freezing them out of their Facebook accounts recently.
A private message was sent via Facebook to those connected to DCU at roughly 7pm on Tuesday, November 19th.
According to Anita McSorley, a final-year Journalism student, it could not be opened. Sent from mobile, the message came from an account under the name “Alice Desmond”.
“The preview of the message says ‘Hello. Haw [sic] are you today? Please my name is miss Alice I saw you…’ and after that it cuts off. There’s no way to open it”, McSorley told The College View.
To regain access to their account, those who had been frozen out were asked to submit a photo ID to Facebook’s administrators, though some people were able to re-access their accounts without providing this.
Access was granted again after two hours, with access given in a rolled-out gradual manner, rather than everyone brought back at one time.
Those affected took to Twitter to vent their frustrations and confusion over the matter. It appeared that current and former students were targeted, and within minutes the hashtag “#WhoIsAliceDesmond” was a top trend across Dublin.
ISS were alerted to the problem, and sent a Tweet urging all social media users to be mindful of the passwords they use to access these sites. The tweets read: “We have received reports of students’ Facebook accounts being hacked. These accounts used personal email addresses and not DCU addresses. ISS advise that you do not use the same password across multiple sites such as email, Facebook, Twitter etc.”
It is unknown what or who is behind the messages.