Thursday, 9 October 2014

[2] #Bellogate

So, we had this happen to UCL e-mails [BBC Link]:

That landed me with (ca.) 3167 e-mails (which I managed to redirect to my spam folder). It started with somebody sending an e-mail from (supposedly) '[email protected]' to '[email protected]', saying 'bello!'. Then, when people started replying to all and realising that anything can get through, the situation spiralled out of control.

Now, I've downloaded the e-mails in Python (this blog post was helpful), and started crunching some numbers.

And yes, they came in large numbers. Over time it picked up, then died slightly after midnight, picked up a bit in the morning (when the problem was fixed by UCL's IT):

Most of the peak around 11pm was due to ucl e-mail addresses sending most e-mails:
Proportion of addresses '@ucl.ac.uk' which sent the e-mail, by the time sent.

It started with most of the e-mails having 'bello' in the title, but soon I had to block all messages sent to all-students, because filtering by title stopped making sense:
Proportion of e-mails with 'bello' in 'Subject' field
Now I'm trying to connect the data in a graph... Who knows, maybe I'll end up doing some Enron-style discovery?

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