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Northwestern University Suffers a Third Computer Hack During 2005-07

Evanston, III's Northwestern University suffered third security breach into its sensitive data over a span of just two years i.e. from 2005 to 2007.

A warning has been sent out after the security breach was discovered on the very first day of June 2007. The hack occurred on a computer system at the Integrated Graduate Program (IGP) in Life Sciences of the university. It exposed personal information like Social Security numbers of about 4,000 people who had enrolled to or attended the program during 1991-2007.

The discovery of the hack was very recent and resulted in the shutting down of all affected machines. It is not clear when the intrusion occurred or what time period had passed before the discovery.

The Federal Trade Commission recommended a precautionary action for the university to ask all those who had submitted their Social-Security numbers to the Integrated Graduate Program to get in touch with the fraud departments of the three main credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. The university also encouraged the affected individuals to request credit bureaus to raise fraud notifications on their accounts.

The incident is the second one in May 2007 that involved the compromise of the University's sensitive information related to students and employees. In the previous incident there was a theft of a laptop, which had Social-Security numbers (SSNs) and other secret data of an unspecified number of university graduates. The laptop was grabbed from the Chicago based financial-aid office of the Northwestern. Since the laptop belonged to a Chicago campus employee, the theft has affected law and medical students most.

Earlier in May 2006, hackers invaded nine PCs at the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid of the school. The computers contained the private information of approximately 17,000 pupils and applicants.

Two years ago, during March 2005, an incident of security breakdown of a server at the university's Kellogg Management School made way for the hackers to illegitimately access user IDs and passwords belonging to approximately 3,500 pupils and employees. As a result of the breach at the school, the university had to frame fresh passwords for about 18,000 graduates whose original passwords were thought to have been accessed by the scammers.

Related article: Northwest Airlines Caution Customers of a phishing E-mail

» SPAMfighter News - 6/26/2007

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