Cyber Crime

Hacker deletes entire student newspaper website of University of Ottawa

A hacker or simply call them a cyber criminal hacked into the independent student newspaper of the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) “The Fulcrum” and ended up deleting the entire website early Sunday morning.

The Fulcrum has been serving the University of Ottawa since 1942 while the website has been online since 2006. The deleted content of the website goes all the way back to 2010.

The newspaper lets students contribute online content to its website which, unfortunately, completely vanished in thin air on the weekend. Along with news updates; the unknown hacker also deleted content from website’s About Us, Contact Us, Advertising and Policy page.

On left: An archive image of The Fulcrum’s website – On the right: The deleted version of The Fulcrum’s website.

However, the hacker published news of their own calling the newspaper with a headline stating “Anti-union rag gets entire website DELETED.” The content of the news mocked the newspaper by saying that “UOttawa student news-rag The Fulcrum has been canceled. Bye-bye.”

“The thing that really upsets me … is just how hurtful this can be. It’s not just about us at this point, it’s more about all the Ottawa students who are going to be losing thousands and thousands of stories,” Matt Gergyek, editor-in-chief at The Fulcrum told CBC.

The good news is that The Fulcrum kept a backup of its data and content till 23rd of June will most probably be restored. The rest of the data can be extracted from the online internet archive.

Although the team behind The Fulcrum was smart enough to backup their website, things could have gone worse in case there was no backup available or if the hacker had access to the backup files. Just like what happened to Emerald City Comicon website in 2015 after hackers deleted the site’s content along with its backup files.

In 2017, a software developer claimed that he accidentally and permanently deleted three months of his work because of Visual Studio Code. It is unclear if the developer was able to get his data back or not. The bottom line is that if you are running an online business or a website, backing up your data is a must.

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