ANN ARBOR (WWJ/AP) – The FBI is now investigating after some students at the University of Michigan received racist and anti-Semitic emails purportedly from a professor.
The emails, which were received Tuesday by computer science and engineering undergraduate students, included subjects such as “African American Student Diversity” and “Jewish Student Diversity.”
The computer science and engineering professor whose name was linked to the emails, J. Alex Halderman, denies sending them.
“No one got access to a U of M account. They didn’t hack into anybody’s account,” School spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “Professor Alex Halderman is a cyber security expert with specific focus on election security, and they did forge his email. They simply copied and made an email as if it appears to come from him.”
Halderman himself said “the content of these emails is contemptible” and it takes “very little technical sophistication” to forge a sender’s email address.
Fitzgerald said authorities are still trying to pinpoint the exact source of the email, which is somewhere outside of the country.
“This is a spoofing. These were emails that were spoofed or forged from outside the United States,” Fitzgerald said. “They’re continuing to investigate, both with a criminal investigation open by U of M police department and working closely with the FBI as we move forward here.”
The Michigan Daily says two of the emails included the phrase “Heil Trump.” The emails prompted an early-Wednesday protest by students.
“There’s increasingly concern about the racist and anti-Semitic tone of these emails. We’ve had other fliers on our campus and so the students are genuinely — we all are very concerned and are condemning this kind of language,” said Fitzgerald.
Halderman previously raised concerns about the integrity of the voting system in some states. He urged a recount of presidential election results in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to ensure that a cyberattack hadn’t manipulated totals.
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