The Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) has announced the indefinite suspension of Afolabi Emmanuel, a final year student of Food Science and Technology Department of the institution over the attempted hacking of the PREMIUM TIMES website in February.
The university said by attacking PREMIUM TIMES, Emmanuel committed “an act that constitutes misconduct and misuse of University IT infrastructure.”
Adegbenro Adebanjo, FUTA’s Head of Corporate Communications, in a statement said Emmanuel’s suspension took effect from March 18 and that he had been instructed to keep away from the campus.
“In the letter of suspension dated August 5, 2020, the University noted that it received a complaint from PREMIUM TIMES about a Denial of Service, DOS attack on its website between 28th and 29th February 2020 through a concerted vulnerability scanning by a person using IT infrastructure of the University.
“Following the complaint, the University management initiated an investigation and it was discovered that Emmanuel carried out the alleged act of misconduct using the login credentials of two members of staff, without authorization, to perpetrate the act.
“The notification of indefinite suspension letter addressed to Emmanuel and his sponsors reads in part, ‘In the extant Student’s Handbook of Information, your action is a misconduct to abuse the use of University IT Infrastructure. While still putting in place an arrangement to give you an opportunity to explain yourself, you are hereby placed on an indefinite suspension retroactively from 18th March 2020.’
“In effect, Emmanuel should not be found anywhere in or near the precincts of the Federal University throughout the period of his indefinite suspension.
“The University deplores such behaviour and reiterates that it will continue to visit such aberrant act with the full weight of the rules and regulations governing students behaviour and conduct off and on the campus. For the avoidance of doubt, only students who are worthy in learning and character can lay claim to and be addressed as FUTA students.”
PREMIUM TIMES had on July 27 reported that a hacker operating from FUTA in late February and early March launched a massive cyberattack on its website. The attacker failed in bringing down the website as his repeated attempts were blocked by the paper’s security experts.
After the report, FUTA sent in a rejoinder saying there was no institutional backing for the attack and that the attacker was being investigated.
“We State categorically that FUTA as an institution was not involved in any way or form with the cyberattack and did not encourage or support such an illegal act,” the university said.
“It is therefore preposterous to insinuate that the Institution could have acted on behalf of external forces to undermine the operations of PREMIUM TIMES.
“Like we stated clearly in our earlier communication with Premium Times, the attack was an aberrational practice by a misguided individual who hacked into the internet connectivity of the University to perpetrate the aberrant act. Steps have since been taken and structures put in place to prevent a reoccurrence.
“The University is ready and will make available its final findings when this is requested and hand over the student involved whenever this is required by legal entities empowered to do so by the laws of the land.
“Finally, there are laid down processes enshrined in the University’s laws and practices for the investigations, interrogations and punishment of students who run afoul of regulations of the University and the laws of the country.”