Police catch man in “Monkey got out of the cage” case

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]


A man has confessed to police that he sent a text message saying “The Monkey got of the cage” that was spammed out to cellphone users at the University of Florida on Tuesday.

The man, who has not been named, is a former employee of Mobile Campus – the firm that provides the emergency text messaging service to allow university authorities to send emergency SMS text messages to students and staff.

He has confessed to sending the message, although he claims it was not intended to be racist. There had been speculation that the message was intended as a racist slur on the inauguration of US President Barack Obama earlier in the day. However, the man has told police that he was an Obama supporter.

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Instead, the man – who may have computer crime charges filed against him later today – says he was “showing off” to friends that he still had access to Mobile Campus’s systems, and sent the text message by accident.

So it’s possible that this might actually be yet another case of an ex-worker accessing his former employer’s computer network after he left their employment. The importance of killing off usernames and passwords when individuals leave your business can’t be stressed highly enough – it’s all too easy (and sometimes tempting) for people to break back into your system, either for reasons of revenge, commercial advantage or to look clever in front of their mates.

* Image source: wedding_planner04’s Flickr photostream (Creative Commons 2.0)

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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