ELIminate eliminated

A sophomore class game of assassins took a turn for the worse when a coordinator’s e-mail account was compromised.

After two days of flooding sophomore inboxes with e-mails, the “Sophomore ELIminate” tournament, a game of assassins which required players to “eliminate” each other using water guns, has been canceled indefinitely, according to an e-mail sent Wednesday to all participants by Sophomore Class Council President Omar Njie ’13. In his message, Njie wrote that the SCC-sponsored game had been shut down after someone hacked the Yale e-mail account of SCC representative Rebecca Miller ’13. Now, SCC says it is working with Information Technology Services and University administrators to figure out what went wrong.

“Someone got my NetID and password. My computer was in my locked room,” Miller said. “When my privacy started being threatened by the game, it was no longer worth pursuing.”

Water guns shaped like dolphins, sharks and whales were used in the SCC’s “Sophomore ELIminate” tournament until a hacking incident shut the game down.
Water guns shaped like dolphins, sharks and whales were used in the SCC’s “Sophomore ELIminate” tournament until a hacking incident shut the game down.

The troubles with the game began when organizers sent an e-mail from the official account, eli.mination2011@gmail.com, to all 282 participants, accidentally showing their addresses instead of BCC’ing them, Njie said in an e-mail to the News. Students began creating fake Gmail accounts with names similar to eli.mination2011@gmail.com and using them to trick participants into revealing the identities of their teammates. (Participants were divided into teams of six.)

Eventually the official eli.mination2011@gmail.com account was hacked, so Miller began to use her Yale e-mail account for communication. Her personal account appears to have been hacked as well, she said, though ITS has yet to confirm this.

This morning, an unauthorized message went out from Miller’s Yale account alerting all participants of the compromised eli.mination2011@gmail.com account. At this point, organizers decided to suspend the game, Njie said.

Njie said he had been advised by ITS to inform all players to change their NetID password and security questions.

“The e-mails for all the participants have most likely not been compromised; however, ITS told me to e-mail the warning as a precaution,” he said in his e-mail. “We currently have no idea who is behind this.”

The SCC is working with residential college deans to deal with the issue, Njie said. Calhoun College Master and Chair of the Council of Masters Jonathan Holloway, Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry and Associate Dean for Student Organizations and Physical Resources John Meeske all said they did not know of the details about the game or the incident.

Holloway added that stealing someone’s identity electronically violates University regulations, and any wrongdoers could face the Executive Committee. He added that the eventual punishment would depend on the circumstances of the incident.

Manager of the Student Technology Collaborative Loriann Higashi said the ITS postmaster and information security team are currently investigating the fake e-mails. Chuck Powell, senior director for academic media and technology, said the Information Security Office will work closely with the relevant Yale administrators, but would not comment on any ongoing investigation.

Three of the six participants interviewed said they were disappointed that the game had ended early, while three other players, while also disappointed, expressed relief that the game it had been cut short. Constantly fearing that your classmates had you as a target was wearing on their nerves, they said.

“I’m a little disappointed because obviously my team was going to win,” said Kat Lau ’13. “I’m also a bit relieved because I no longer have to live in fear. I was getting paranoid.”

The water guns used in the game were in the shape of sea creatures such as dolphins and whales.

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