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University of Florida Attacked by an Unknown Hacker

The University of Florida revealed on November 12, 2008 that an unknown hacker attacked the server of its College of Dentistry where records of several hundred patients were stored.

The University reveals that hacking of data involves records of almost 330,000 present or previous dental patients who have been informed about the incident. Private details which have been hacked include names, address, birth dates, social security numbers, and in some cases, dental care details of patients dating to 1990.

Security experts said that the data breach was found on October 3, 2008 while updating the server. The University claims that IT officials then found a malware loaded on the system from an unknown location. They also said that server was immediately disconnected from the web and since then, stronger security controls have been put in place.

The University said that along with 330,000 people who were informed about the incident, 8,000 people, whose present mail addresses could not be traced, were also targeted by the hackers.

Dean of the UF College of Dentistry, Teresa Dolan, said that it is unfortunate that like other institutes they are also attacked, as reported by NetworkWorld on November 12, 2008.

UF's Interim CEO, Charles Frazier, said that their University like other universities and colleges is targeted by attackers who try to find weaknesses in the IT security system, as reported by NetworkWorld on November 12, 2008.

The reports also disclose that as typical in these kinds of disclosures, the University has failed to recognize the type of server breached, or how the attacker targeted it. It did not divulge when the attack began or how long the intrusion remained undetected.

Further, security experts inform that hacking attempts on the University's servers is an old phenomenon. In April 2008, the Southern Connecticut State University informed 11,000 present and former students that their names, addresses, social security numbers were hacked by hackers who were using the school's server to host an unauthentic site, probably a part of spamming scheme.

Related article: University Reports Increase in Spam

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