UTD Database Suffers Network Intrusion

University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) might have suffered hackers' onslaught trying to obtain the personal information of 6,000 people working for, applying to, or attending the university, said school officials on December 13, 2006.

UTD officials said that hackers might have captured certain Social Security numbers and other private information of people attached to the university between 1999 and 2005, during a network intrusion uncovered over the weekend.

Although there is no indication yet of any disclosure of the information, its dissemination or use to anyone's disadvantage. The approximate number of affected individuals is known to have gone up to 6,000, said Dr. David E. Daniel, President of UTD.
He said the investigation during the process may discover other affected individuals but the university wants to inform the people it has already identified to date of the incident so they can take appropriate protective action.

Daniel said the attack was external via the Internet but declined to discuss about the particulars of the ongoing investigation.

The president said that the university was focusing efforts on two aspects. One in defending the integrity of its network from probable future attacks, assessing how the attack took place. The university was also seeking ways to minimize potential future attacks. Secondly, the university was contacting all the affected people to inform them of ways they can protect themselves from identity theft and related harm.

Hackers have been largely targeting university computers in recent times.

On December 12, 2006, there was a hacker break-in to the computer system of the 'University of California', Los Angeles where 800,000 current and former students, faculty and staff had their personal information exposed.

In May, 'Ohio University' declared a hacking attack on 200,000 identities in three different intrusions over a span of two weeks. The school suspended two IT managers following an investigation.

The flagship school of UTD Systemin Austin has faced two other major IT security violations in the past. First was in 2003 and second one in April 2006 at the 'McCombs School of Business'. The McCombs attack pilfered Social Security numbers and other confidential data of around 197,000 people.

Related article: Utah University Targeted by phishing E-Mail

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