USC’s Data Might Have Been Hacked
University of South California (USC) has brought to the notice of about 6,000 students about an intruder since a year ago who might have stolen their identification information.
USC spokesman Russ McKinney informed that in a security audit conducted this summer they had discovered that a USC network server had been hacked by an illegal external system in September last year. There was a prevailing doubt that the intruder could have captured a database that was put for use in the University post office where the data consisted of names, 'social security numbers' and birthdays of those students.
With this warning by USC, it is the second time in four months that USC has informed students about a probable unauthorized attack on their private information. Although people have expressed worry about this happening but fortunately no report of stolen information has been made till now.
In response to this McKinney remarked that such a situation should not have happened and they regret it. He further said that their server has been secured so it cannot happen again. Also the USC authorities were at the task of identifying the intruder. McKinney recalled that in April a human error had occurred when information of about 1,400 students was inadvertently e-mailed to another thousand students in hospitality, retail and sports management plans.
USC has come forward with adequate measures to protect their students' personal information. No longer are social security numbers used as identification of the students. USC ID cards do not show students' social security numbers. The university is also upgrading its computer networks to secure it even more against hackers.
The computers that USC has been using were made in 1970 that relied on social security numbers as the main source to track information. However a complete upgrade of the systems is in progress, which includes changing students' records as the most important part of the upgrade.
The University is also verifying if the personal information of the students that accidentally leaked in April, has gone into the wrong quarters of cyber criminals. Till now there has been no report of identity theft.
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» SPAMfighter News - 01-09-2006