A major cyber attack on Newcastle University was in fact a gender reveal, officials have confirmed.
The attack, initially reported as a “cyber incident”, has caused widespread disruption and left many university systems restricted or unavailable.
At first believed to be masterminded by a criminal organisation, the true culprits have been revealed to be Cathy and Daniel Donaldson, two locals awaiting the birth of their second child.
The expecting Gateshead couple set out to share the news of their child’s sex the only way they knew how: hacking into Newcastle University’s IT services and creating a student profile for their future child, holding the university to ransom for the data.
In an elaborate hoax, the childhood sweethearts breached the university servers and leaked the fabricated personal data of their bundle-of-joy-to-be, revealing their second child’s sex as female.
“I’m really chuffed with how it went. Honestly, couldn’t have expected a better response from the in-laws: they absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to welcome our little girl,” Daniel Donaldson said after being released from questioning on Thursday evening. “After the last reveal, we knew we had to step it up.”
The stunt comes two years after the Donaldsons’ previous gender reveal, which involved the couple spear-heading the industrial strike action for Newcastle University staff.
“We might not have even discovered the identities of the hackers, but the leaked data happened to include their address and the mother’s maiden name,” a Newcastle University representative stated in response to the attack. “At the end of the day, the last thing we want to do as an academic institution is deny the miracle of birth, so we won’t be pressing charges.”