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Texas A&M Encounters Hacker’s Attack

A hacker attempted to break-in a Texas A&M University network. The University mandated changing passwords of 96,000 students, faculty and other staff. The hacker was trying to access electronic files of the school.

The attacker wanted to access those files storing encrypted passwords of a large number of university accounts, Texas A&M said in a statement on February 28, 2007.

According to the university, there was no impact on the student administrative, payroll, or financial systems. While it is investigating the incident it has not got any reports of fraudulent use of university or personal details.

Officials have ruled out data theft but warned that if the hacker cracked the encrypted passwords he could make access to Net-ID accounts of many inmates.

University officials trying to lessen the risk have made it compulsory for all users of the school's computer system to make new Net-ID passwords for themselves. Net-ID is a login testimony that many school systems use.

Despite the prompt identification and arrest of the security breach, the university believes it's important to adopt all essential steps to make sure that personal information of students, faculty & staff are completely secured from illegitimate use, said Eddie J. Davis - Interim President of Texas A&M in a statement on February 28, 2007.

The university has provided a Web site for computer users to get the latest information about the breach and the progresses in the investigation. The site will also supply information about ways of safeguarding personal information.

The university took sufficient time to announce the computer hack because it didn't want to weaken the investigation, said Davis. The university also had a plan on the ways to reciprocate to the event.

The university considers its top priority to ensure that the private account details of its customers remain intact, fully protected, said Tom Putman, the university's computing and information service executive director.

There was a similar incident in the University of California, Los Angeles in December 2006. Hackers exploited an unknown security flaw in a database of the university. The university cautioned 800,000 people of a possible compromise of their personal information.

Related article: Texan Spam Mailer Gets Shut Out

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