In the latest development of the recent Russian hacking scandals, GreekRank – a website that allows students to rank their Greek affiliated peers according to essential criteria like looks, classiness, and popularity – was found to be compromised by a system of Kremlin-sponsored bots.
While frequently suspected that the accuracy of overall ratings was being negatively affected by self-ranking, a recent Congressional probe into the site revealed that the majority of comments were intended to tip the most recent American election, provoke insecurity among the voting public, and, most notably, cast doubt over the integrity of the W&L social hierarchy.
The purpose of this hacking remains unknown. Said one investigator, “It’s not clear what Putin’s regime had to gain from spreading these strange and nearly incomprehensible – but definitively cruel – messages about various Greek organizations. But then again, we literally haven’t been able to think of a single person who would gain from this. So the Russians make just as much sense as the alternative, I guess.” The hastily programmed Artificial Intelligencebots were reportedly outfitted with a small, crude vocabulary and an extremely basic grasp of English grammar, which, the investigator said, likely helped them fly under the radar for weeks or even months at a time.
Despite the threat to national cybersecurity, the news has been well-received by students, who have unanimously expressed relief that the website’s comments were not, in fact, posted by their peers.
“I used to read those comments and wonder what sort of a person could so consciously and unabashedly subscribe to the tier system, and even make an active effort to support and perpetuate it. I mean, there were comments on that that were people getting mad about certain groups being ranked too highly. And they would, like, say horrible things to ‘compensate’ for the nice things that had been said. I’m so happy to know that Putin is behind this, and not my peers.”
As of this writing, GreekRank has proudly announced its sorta-taking-responsibility-sorta-not stance with respect to the Senate Intelligence Committee, directly alongside, of course, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
—Allie Rutledge ’19