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664 IU Computer Users Have Their Account Details Stolen

In yet another common incident of theft of account details, usernames and passwords of 664 users of Indiana University campus computers were found on a PC that FBI seized for an investigation. Consequently, the university technicians scrambled all the passwords. The result was that users would have to get their new passwords from the IU support staff. The IU chief information technology policy officer, Merri Beth Lavagnino said an agent of the FBI informed the university in the week of May 29, 2007 about the presence of the usernames and passwords on the suspect computer. Indystar published Lavagnino's statement on June 3, 2007.

The theft was apparently with the help of a Trojan horse program. The Trojan remains benign but after installing on a PC, it behaves nastily. IU officials said they are not aware where the FBI captured the computer, who was its user or what the investigation was about. What they know is that IU-Bloomington students collected the usernames and passwords between December 2004 and September 2006.

In another statement Lavagnino said the incident is a clear illustration of how important it is to keep one's operating system up to date along with the anti-virus programs. Over and above it is crucial to change the system password frequently. Reporter Times published this statement of Lavagnino on June 4, 2007.

IU tech experts evaluated the information and found that several of the total affected users hadn't changed their passwords in the recent past. Those affected users who still have their accounts active with IU, 511 are students, 151 are employees working on hourly basis and the remaining are faculty staff. Most of these students belong to the IU-Bloomington campus.

The university has decided to guide the affected users in rebuilding their back up files, clean the hard drive and reinstall the operating system so that they could continue using their PCs without any new problems.

Lavagnino says it is impossible to determine what manipulation might have happened with the stolen data. However, if the computer users suffered any serious problems during 2006-07, they could be due to the Trojan horse program.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 6/16/2007

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