Hack into MTSU Computer Could Expose Students’ Info
Officials are investigating an unauthorized access to a computer at the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), which could have exposed personal information, including names as well as social security numbers, of approximately 1,500 former and current students.
Administrators said that it seems the hacker did not know precisely what the computer held. But they have asked students to exercise caution anyway. Also, there is no evidence of fraudulent use of any of the students' identities after the hack. And neither is the university insuring its students against theft of identity unless such indication arises.
Associate Vice-President of the IT Department of MTSU, Tim Brown, said that when his department was assessing the patterns of traffic around the system, it could figure out the hacker's intention, which was to dispatch large number of e-mails possibly for a marketing scheme. Sensitive information of social security numbers wasn't what the hacker tried to target, but it could not be said with certainty that the intruder was not able to access those details, as reported by WKRN on February 14, 2008.
The information that could have been compromised was stored on the PC that belongs to a professor in the School of Journalism. An unknown person used the computer to push out spam mails and possibly accessed students' information.
It seems that the hacker compromised only one computer in the School of Journalism. However, the system was not physically accessed. It was done via the Internet, according to Tim Brown, as reported by Newschannel5 on February 15, 2008.
The MTSU mailed the students who were affected as a result of the hack, informing them about the potential compromise of their information. In the notification letter, the university has confirmed that there are possibilities that information could be hacked but there is no evidence which testify whether hacker succeeded in accessing the information or not.
The University's computer analysts have been thoroughly examining the hacked computer to identify how the computer is hacked. Besides, the University has also decided to replace the entire computer network system and the personal information of students would be removed from them.
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» SPAMfighter News - 20-02-2008