The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

79° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Soundoff: Aug. 30

    Who actually reads the Listserv?

    An unbelievable amount of attention has been drubbed up regarding the now infamous Listserv hacking fiasco. If you haven’t yet heard about the Goat Man, I’ll fill you in. Earlier this month, the UA Employee Listserv was hacked and an email containing a graphic image was sent to university email accounts. Many are confused as to how exactly it could’ve happened. Was it carelessness on behalf of University Information Technology Services, or was it a genuinely skilled hacker? What seems most startling is that anyone read the message at all.

    An employee’s inbox is flooded daily with emails from coworkers, employers, friends and, of course, spam. Who has the time to read the largely irrelevant emails that get sent out to everyone? An important task or campus alert could come along via email, but a simple subject line identifies those emails.

    To add to the mystery of who would ever read this, the email clearly looked like something to stay away from. Rule number one of the Internet is don’t open anything from someone you don’t know. This is always almost followed by the second rule: Don’t open an email with blatant misspellings or suspicious info in the subject line. The Goat Man email contained both of these. Maybe I’m overprotective of getting a computer virus, but if I get an email with a subject line about additions to the Arizona State University website, I’m probably not going to read it. I don’t go there, nor do I work there, so there’s no reason to be getting such an email. Factor in that the sender called himself “The Goat Man,” and you’ve got yourself a direct-to-the-trash-bin email.

    While UITS has received a lot of flak for this, in the end anyone who uses the UA Employee Listserv could count this as a win. Believe it or not, people actually pay attention to Listservs and at the very least the university-wide emails are being opened. Who knows, maybe now the generic emails sent to UA employees will have subject lines about new football stadiums at other colleges and the sender will be “Milk Maiden.” Alas, anyone who opens that email will probably be met with nothing more than your run-of-the-mill uninteresting UANews articles.

    — Storm Byrd is the Perspectives editor for the Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at

    More to Discover
    Activate Search