Website 'hack' hoax depicts MSU as a haven for binge drinkers and drug takers

Publish date:
Updated on

Hoax images that mimicked the Minnesota State University, Mankato website, depicting it as a haven for binge drinkers and drug users, were circulated online Monday.

MSU confirmed to BringMeTheNews that its website had not been hacked after the bogus images emerged on Twitter and Facebook, making it look as though words on the website's front page had been changed.

"What does it mean to be a Maverick? It means you're regularly drinking before noon. It means you'll graduate with little to no job prospects and a troubling drinking problem," one of the excerpts read.

Another read: "Minnesota State University Mankato is where tireless students binge drink and consume drugs in frightening quantities."

Here's a collection of the images – but be warned they contain offensive language.

A 'clever person' was responsible

The images gave rise to fears that the MSU website had been targeted by hackers, but it soon emerged that it was instead the result of some web browser manipulation by a "clever person."

"We have determined that the Minnesota State University, Mankato website has not been 'hacked,'" spokesman Daniel Benson told BringMeTheNews.

"The screenshot that is on the Twitter post is almost certainly something that a clever person did 'locally' – meaning on their own web browser. Apparently, Google Chrome is famous for permitting the adjustment of web pages," Benson noted.

Benson said once the "hacker" does his "little trick", they take a screen capture of the "hacked" page and post it on Twitter as if others could see it, which they can't.

"In summary, this is someone's attempt at humor," he added.

The university says the Twitter account where the pictures first appeared is an anonymous one. It told the Mankato Free Press it is investigating the incident, and may issue an official statement to students and staff if it continues to spread.

Web users can utilize Google Chrome to create new versions of existing websites. This video shows how to do it using the "inspect element" tool, before taking a screenshot to "pull pranks and mess with friends."

'You are my hero': Social media responds to bogus images

Even though it was a hoax, it clearly tickled social media users.

Next Up


MSU-Mankato football coach arrested; child porn investigation underway

Blue Earth County authorities say Todd Hoffner is at the center of a child pornography investigation. A sheriff's department captain tells the Mankato Free Press Hoffner was arrested when investigators arrived at his Eagle Lake home with a search warrant. He says investigators are looking into the possible use of minors in a sexual performance.