Cyber-attack Harnesses StFX Network Power


Bitcoin business temporarily shuts down StFX services

StFX services such as Wi-Fi, Moodle, MesAmis, printing and student email accounts were down for the count starting the morning of November 1. These services and others gradually returned on Sunday following a 4-day hiatus. 

The university’s Facebook @stfxuniversity posted on November 2 that the “IT Services Team worked through the night making progress testing and analyzing the 150 servers within our network.” Each server is being evaluated rebooted after a thorough assessment that accounts for the time-consuming process. 

Kendra MacDonald, a Service & Support Administrator of IT Services notes the cause of this issue to be an organization harnessing power from the school’s network to mine bitcoin. 

MacDonald assured The Xaverian Weekly that the person, or people, doing ‘cryptocoin mining.’  behind this operation on StFX’s high-powered network did not access personal information from students’ accounts. 

StFX News details the act of ‘mining’ as “The malicious software attempted to utilize StFX’s collective computing power in order to create or discover bitcoin for monetary gain.”

Xaverian News Editor Evan Davison-Kotler worked in the corporate finance industry this past summer as a blockchain consultant. He expands on StFX’s announcement, “There’s essentially a set number of bitcoins that have can ever come into circulation. Mining is simply the process of releasing a new bitcoin into circulation. It’s a competition between lots of people on the network to solve a really hard cryptographic problem using computational power. The function of mining is essentially two-fold – it creates a resource-based method of obtaining Bitcoin, putting a bottleneck on the supply and a cost (power) associated with the procurement of the currency. The second element is security – the more individuals attempting to release a coin into circulation, the more secure the bitcoin network becomes; this is through really impressive and complex cryptography. The more bitcoins in circulation, the higher the mining difficulty for the next bitcoin, meaning the more power necessary to mine. In theory, increased power demands match increased price of bitcoin, meaning there is always a monetary incentive to expend the power necessary to release a new coin into circulation. We can obviously see the issue with this, where bad actors could attempt to infiltrate and repurpose existing servers and processors that they do not own, re-routing them to expend processing power on bitcoin mining.”  

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency created by Satoshi Nakamoto. The idea for the cryptocurrency was first posted by Nakamoto in “Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper” dated November 1, 2008. 

The paper by Nakamoto, originally published in full on, is the first trace of Nakamoto’s mysterious identity. To this day, documentaries and other sources speculate on whether Nakamoto is an individual or a group of people.  

An article titled “What is Bitcoin?” posted on the University of Toronto website March 17, 2014 defines in some detail what is Bitcoin and how it works. Jenny Hall interviews Yuri Takhteyev who was a status-only professor in the Faculty of Information about cryptocurrency. Takhteyev concludes that, “cryptocurrencies are probably here to stay.” 

Takhteyev correctly predicted the evolution of “cryptocurrencies” from the underground black-market into mainstream. The University of Toronto added three new courses this year. Portfolio Management Praxis Under Real Market Constraints, Blockchain Technologies and Cryptocurrencies, and Inventrepreneurship: Invention + Entrepreneurship are now courses taught to graduate students in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

The objective of Blockchain Technologies and Cryptocurrencies as an academic course of study is described by the University of Toronto in the U of T News, “This course will provide students with the concepts and mechanics of the blockchain technologies starting with Bitcoin, allowing them to identify business-relevant benchmarking criteria for blockchain technologies in accordance with their current and future impact on business processes.” 

Cryptocurrency has come a long way since Bitcoin was introduced ten years ago by Nakamoto. The study of blockchain technology by international universities in Qatar, Stanford, and Edinburgh validate Nakamoto’s global influence at the post-secondary education level.

The recent cyber-attack on StFX’s network is a reminder for our readers to remain critical and inform themselves before investing in cryptocurrency.

Enterprise systems professor David Mattie, who has over twenty years of experience in the IT services industry commented on the breach, “All it takes is one guy penetrating one server, out of our 500, to have all of StFXs data compromised. We spend the same amount of money as the University of Toronto does in our IT department, but we are always susceptible to being hacked. It does not matter how much money you spend on IT, you will never be able to be 100% secure unfortunately.”

StFX continues to investigate the matter and have yet to identify the culprit responsible for the cyber- attack.


Dear StFX


A final goodbye

It seems such a crime to not fill such a beautiful journal with beautiful words.  But here I am with a beautiful journal, a long bus ride ahead of me, and filled with some negative emotions.  I guess I should start with StFX, the university that broke my heart.  I wouldn’t say I was necessarily excited to go back, having been sexually assaulted the previous year, but I was certainly hopeful.  I had reported to the school and my assaulter was suspended for the year.  This was my fresh start, my chance to make my home there.  There was still a voice in my head saying, ‘you only have a year of safety there.’  I pushed the voice away, determined to make the best of this year.  I’d switched myself into Mackinnon Hall from Riley for a more social experience.  I was in contact with a student involved with the weightlifting club so that I could join.  I was taking medication to help with my mental health.  I set up appointments at the hospital and Women’s Resource Centre.  I really thought I’d put everything in place to have a kick ass second year.  I may have had to avoid a certain fast food restaurant because my assaulter was living in town and working there but that was okay.  I always had the campus as my safe place.  This campus, this community, this family, I chose it.  I chose to return despite my assault last year, I chose to move forward and heal.

I wish the school had given me that chance as I’d fallen in love with the town, StFX, and the community.  Through a friend of mine I had heard the accused was seen at the radio station greeting new students.  I was livid and terrified.  How could that not be monitored?  It was the first day of classes, for the first time since landing in Nova Scotia I’d felt excited.  I had packed my bag for class and headed over to the RLC office to let them know about the accused.  Someone brought me over to talk to the director of student life, Jacqueline De Leebeeck.  I started to recount what I’d heard and for some reason the look on her face made my stomach drop.  She started off, “there’s been a miscommunication, I’m sorry.”  I felt my heartbeat start to speed up.  “His lawyers got in contact with our legal counsel and he’s been permitted to take classes this year.”  I still don’t think I have the words to describe how that felt but I’ll try.  All at once it hit me and I was scared, angry, broken hearted and most of all I felt betrayed.  This school that was supposed to protect me treated me and my assault like a joke.  I got up to run outside as I felt the panic attack coming on.  She threw out, “he’s only allowed on campus for classes,” as if that’s fucking consolation.  I bolted out of the office and called my mom mid-panic attack.  I was crying, shaking, yelling.  She could barely make out what I was saying, I could barely breathe.  I was utterly devastated knowing StFX cared about my safety so little.  My mom told me she’d book me a flight for the next morning.  She would never leave me somewhere I could never feel safe again.  Before I went to pack my things I stopped in the RLC office one last time.  I let Jacqueline know she could share all information with my mother and that, “no I will not be staying to handle my academics, you guys will be doing that as well as reimbursing us, I’m going home.”

It broke my heart, but I left StFX. 

I left Antigonish.

I left Nova Scotia.


Interview with Lawrence Hill

Get your heads out of the sand!

Can you think back to time where you were given an opportunity to meet your idol or your hero… How would you feel in that moment about the things you would say to them and how would your interaction be? 

Well your girl had the chance to meet the renowned, brilliant and enthusiastic author, Lawrence Hill. I was honored and grateful for the opportunity to be in his presence. 

Hill is a Canadian novelist and is famously known for his award-winning book, The Book of Negroes, and other significant contributions to the canon of Canadian literature, including Black Berry, Sweet Juice and his 2013 Massey Lecture entitled Blood: The Stuff of Life, just to name a few. 

I was invited to a private dinner with Hill and others including faculty and teachers within the community. This dinner created an intimate space allowing me to communicate with Hill on a more personal level. It was tremendously fascinating to watch the engagement between Hill and everyone seated at the table, his openness and willingness to be included in the conversation gave me a sense of comfort. Let me not forget to add how comical Hill is, and it did not require much effort to keep us entertained. 

After dinner ended it was time for me to have a one-on-one discussion with Hill to gather further information about his success and his views on identity and belonging. It is evident that we live in a world that is not shy of displaying extroverted disapproval to those who do not fit their criteria of what a person should be. 

Despite being emancipated from slavery, abolishing segregation, and activist fighting for equality, it is important that these issues still exist today. Individuals, specifically of African descent had to and still are enduring many trials and tribulations because of the color of their skin; Hill addresses these issues that people of color may come to face. I wondered how Hill would respond if he were to be racially discriminated against, this brought forth my first question. He states, “I was raised by an African American father who was a solider in the American army and a white American mother, who then moved to Canada a day after their wedding, and at this time segregation was at its apex. My father informed me if I was to ever be insulated racially, I should respond with violence or oppose it in some way, but I refused to respond with violence. I believes if someone has the right to call me repulsive things then I has the right to tell them they are disgusting individuals.” 

On the topic of racism, Hill adds “if I were to see someone else being racially insulted, I believe that it is my moral obligation to step in and speak up. You must be careful about how you intercede because things can escalate in ways that may reverberate back on you in negative ways racially.”

 I recently attended a forum, where I acquired Angela Davis’ (American political activist) beliefs and opinions on what it would take to create a world where we all feel like we belong. I wanted to get Hills’ views on this subject matter, “I do not believe that we will reach that point anytime soon.  Canadians tend to assume they are morally superior to other people in different parts of the world who are experiencing racial injustices. They would disregard these problems within Canada by putting their heads in the sand, but will not hesitate to point out current problems in other countries. We would have to look within ourselves, look at our current injustices, look at our current life and not be afraid to acknowledge where we do not measure up.” 

He concludes, “everyone should not strive to be the same or look the same, instead individuals should be accepting of differences and learn to live together. We as humans must be committed to abolishing racism and committed to accepting people for who they are. The Book of Negroes touches on the vast majority of these issues, hence its success.”

Why was this book such a success? Hill believes his book gives readers comfort in reading past injustices that were triumphed. It also introduces readers to a history that individuals might have been oblivious to, giving insight and information about Black history in Canada. I concluded by asking Hill for advice for aspiring authors, he said “in order to become something or achieve a goal you must put in the work to get desirable results. The opinions of others should never supersede your aspirations in life, you only have one chance at life so make the most of it.”

Bauer Stage transforms into a Large Pool of Water

Play by Mary Zimmerman featuring StFX students starts November 7

Something magical is happening on the Bauer Theatre stage. The popular venue for live theatre has been home to several hundred different plays, set designs, and theatrical elements over the years, but staging a play set entirely in water is an exciting first!

In November, Theatre Antigonish will open its 44th season with the Tony-award winning play Metamorphoses, by Mary Zimmerman. This play is a spellbinding adaptation of the classic myths of Ovid. It is storytelling at its best, with a series of short stories told in and around a shallow pool of water on stage. With its evocative images, visual exuberance, and exquisite costumes, this play is a clever juxtaposition of the ancient and contemporary as it explores the theme of transformation. And since the entire play is set in water, audience members will even have a chance to catch a fun splash or two, if they choose to sit up close to the stage!

Metamorphoses begins with a pay-what-you-can preview on Wednesday, November 7, and opening night on Thursday, November 8. Performances will take place November 7-10, and November 17-18, at the Bauer Theatre, located on the campus of StFX University. The show begins at 7:30pm and doors open at 7pm. The play is directed by Theatre Antigonish’s Artistic Director Andrea Boyd, with set and lighting design by Ian Pygott and costume design by Martha Palmer. The stage manager for the show is Ashley Pettipas. The cast includes a large group of community members and StFX students, some of whom are veterans of the Bauer stage and some who are new to the joy of acting. The prospect of performing a play in water poses unique challenges for all aspects of the show – set design, costumes, direction, acting, backstage work, audience seating, climate control – but it also brings excitement, exuberance, and the joy of creative discovery as the cast and creative team work through rehearsals. 

Boyd says “I am so excited to direct this play. The stories will provoke laughter, tears, grief and joy. It will surprise us and draw us in. The actors are all amazing, and the creative team is working wonders to bring the play to life. It is a beautiful play with stunning visuals. And who doesn’t enjoy playing in water?”.

Advance tickets for Metamorphoses are on sale now – online at or by phone at (902) 867-3333. Tickets are $15 regular, $12 seniors, and $10 students. Season passes are also on sale, providing a saving of up to 30% on all five shows for the season.

Now entering its 44th year, Theatre Antigonish is a professionally-led community theatre organization, offering high quality productions at the Bauer Theatre during the fall and winter months. As a non-profit organization, Theatre Antigonish brings together StFX students and members of the local community to work together on all aspects of the plays, including acting, designing, set-building, sound and light, and promotions. For more information, contact, call (902) 867-3333, or visit the Facebook page at


Name: Nicole Zambrano.

Year of Study/Program: First year Bachelor of Art in Political Science. 

Where are you from? Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The first play that you’ve ever been in? Metamorphoses will be my first play!


Name: Michael Gillis.

Year of Study/Program: Second Year, English Major.

Where are you from? Georgetown, Ontario.

The first that that you’ve been in? Goodnight Desdemona Good morning Juliet, a Shakespeare parody.


Name: Devon Side Walker.

Year of Study/Program: Third Year Business, Management advanced major.

Where are you from? Grande Prairie, Alberta.

The first play that you’ve ever been in? First play I was in was at Theatre Antigonish: Eurydice.

First play ever: a Christmas play in the 8th grade.


Name: Tyler Kingston.

Year of Study/Program: Second year, Nursing.

Where are you from? Miramichi, New Brunswick.

The first play that you’ve ever been in? Snow White and the 7 dwarfs.


Name: Salome Barker.

Year of Study/Program: Fourth year, Women and Gender Studies.

Where are you from? Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The first play that you’ve ever been in? The Nutcracker.


Name: Madison Kendall.

Year of Study/Program: Second Year, Arts Program. 

Where are you from? New York City, USA.

The first play that you’ve ever been in? Solidea Island.