Antioch University Suffers Multiple Computer Hacks

Antioch University suffered multiple security breaches when a computer that held personal information belonging to approximately 70,000 people was hacked at least three times in 2007 by an unauthorized intruder, revealed the university's officials on March 28, 2008.

According to authorities of the school, the breaches took place on June 9, June 10 and October 11 in 2007. The system stored names, academic records, Social Security numbers and payroll files of existing and earlier students, employees, and applicants dating back to 1996.

The school said that no sooner had it known about the intrusion, it disconnected its server from the net and blocked the area where the intrusion took place. It also assured that a computer security reviewing was being performed to ensure that no vulnerable areas remained. It was also contacting via e-mail all those persons whose data might have leaked.

Chief Information Officer, Bill Marshall, said that there is no conclusive evidence indicating that the hacker actually misused any part of the personal data. However, authorities are still analyzing all existing evidence to figure out the extent to which the intrusion occurred, as reported by AssociatedPress on March 29, 2008.

Further, a marked increase in the number of unauthorized disclosures and losses of data as well as in the number of universities and colleges affected was observed. Most commonly, the incidents involved leakage of data to strangers and/or unauthorized people. This tended to shift practices from hackers' attacks to breaches by IT workers themselves whether by accident or otherwise.

While problems due to computer spyware and viruses had dropped considerably during 2006-07, security incidents with social networking sites such as Facebook increased to 13.2%, according to a poll at university campuses in 2007. The maximum number of security incidents related to exposure of educational records, such as students' grades, which occurred in thirty incidents during 2007 as compared to just one in 2006. According to IT officials at the campuses, network security is the most important issue with information technology that would affect institutions during the next couple of years of 2008-2010.

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