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Computer Breach May Affect Several SIU Alumni

Around hundreds of former students of Southern Illinois University (SIU) are at a risk of identity theft because of a computer security breach.

According to the University officials, a virus hit an old computer in the mathematics department in January, as per the statement published by wsiltv.com on February 17, 2010.

They also said that it is quite possible that the virus may have had the potential to get access to the information.

Details of this virus attack highlights that while searching for the computer files, the officials discovered that social security numbers for around 900 students stored in the hard drive of the system. These were the students who attended introductory math sessions at the University in 2004 and 2005, and most possibly, these details have put their identities at risk.

Investigations are being carried out after Meagan Lewis, a former student, informed the officials of a latest suspicious activity she identified on her credit report since the incidence of infringement occurred.

According to the University's Network Security Officer, Curt Wilson, since January 4, 2010, 94 incidences of malware attack on the University's system have occurred, and this latest breach is one of them, as reported by siude.com on February 17, 2010.

As stated by Chris Wiegman, Network Support Specialist in the University's aviation department, various measures can be followed in order to thwart another incident, as per the news published by siude.com on February 17, 2010.

He recommended that it is crucial to regularly update the computers, older ones in particular, through patches; otherwise, they could be easily compromised. He added that crooks can develop such codes so that when a user opens up anything believing it to be a genuine website, some other program opens up in the background that can read the hard drive. Whatever a user types can be easily copied and the information can be sent anywhere.

Spokesman for SIU, Rod Sievers, said that if a person in affected by this particular breach, he/she is advised to contact credit bureaus for immediate actions, and in case anyone is falsely opening accounts in victim's name, he/she should contact police, as per the news published by wsiltv.com on February 17, 2010.

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