[ISN] Hackers break into Northwestern computers

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Sun Jul 16 2006 - 23:16:41 PDT


July 14, 2006

Northwestern University officials are trying to contact about 17,000 
students and applicants to the school after discovering hackers broke into 
nine desktop computers on campus that contained personal information, the 
school said Friday.

There is no indication the hackers who breached the computers in the 
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid in May gained access to the 
personal information or even were aware that the computers contained 
Social Security numbers, addresses and other information, according to 
Chuck Loebbaka, the school's director of media relations.

But as a precaution, the university is trying to contact, via e-mail or 
letters, affected undergraduates, graduate students and applicants, 
Loebbaka said.

The university also is advising anyone who provided Social Security 
numbers to the admissions and financial aid office to contact the fraud 
departments of the three major credit bureaus--Equifax, Experian, and 
Trans Union. The precaution is recommended by the Federal Trade 
Commission. Further, the school said those affected may want to ask credit 
bureaus to issue fraud alerts on their accounts.

The school said the hackers were able to breach troubleshooting software 
that allows technical support staffers to access the computer functions 
from off campus. When the school discovered the breach in May, the 
computers were shut down and officials tried to determine who was affected 
and what information may have been at risk.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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