Kean calls hacked message ‘despicable’; website still offline


By: Rebecca Panico | Published Dec. 21, 2015

About a day after Kean University’s website was hacked repeatedly with profanity-laced messages that denounced America, France and Israel, the website continues to be offline.

The university released a statement last night assuring the Kean community that their financial records and email were not impacted by the hack.

“None of Kean’s mission-critical operations such as financial and record-management systems, KeanWise or the University’s e-mail system were impacted.”

Kean’s statement, emailed to all students, faculty and staff around 10 p.m. last night, stated its website had been hacked by a group calling itself Red Hell who claimed to operate out of Algeria, a country on the continent of Africa.

Kean University spokeswoman Margaret McCorry stated that there were three cyber-attacks starting on Dec. 19 around 4 p.m., followed by two more on Dec. 20 around noon and 11 p.m.

As of publication of this article, the website was still down. Blackboard, KeanWise and Kean email are still fully functioning.

One of the messages, which has been edited to remove profanities, read: “Do You Feel Safe ? Hacked by Red hell sofyan 2 nd time in 24 H F— Usa f— Israel f— France free Syria Free Palestine”.

The university called the message “despicable” in their statement yesterday, and disabled the website as soon as they learned of the breach and a new firewall was enabled.

A Twitter account, RedHellSofyan, posted that the website was hacked three times in 48-hours. The account claimed not to be a group, but an individual and tagged some posts with hashtags like “#FreeGaza” and others that denounced France.

Click to enlarge. The screenshot has been edited to remove profanities.

The Twitter account, which has a profile picture featuring the colors of the French flag with a red slash over it, posted at 6:20 a.m. yesterday, “Need to Talk University Server Under Control.” It is unclear if the account is related to the hack.

The university said Rackspace, their external hosting company, continue to research which sites were hacked in addition to Kean’s.

Meanwhile, an additional statement emailed to the Kean community today at 10 a.m., stated that Kean University police were working closely with the Department of Homeland Security and the New Jersey State Police to address the situation.

Kean’s spokeswoman stated that the website will be temporarily down until further notice.

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