University Of Maryland Breach Leaks Over 300k Records

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Law enforcement brought in after serious breach at a US university

The University of Maryland in the US has suffered a nasty data breach, in which a database containing 309,079 records was compromised.

Information including social security numbers, dates of birth and university identification numbers of staff, students and others affiliated with the Maryland institution were leaked. The breach affects those from the College Park and Shady Grove campuses who were issued a university ID from 1998 onwards.

Whistleblower leak keyboard security breach © CarpathianPrince Shutterstock

Trouble in Maryland

“With the assistance of experts, we are handling this matter with an abundance of caution and diligence. Appropriate state and federal law enforcement authorities are currently investigating this criminal incident,” said university president Wallace Loh.

“Computer forensic investigators are examining the breached files and logs to determine how our sophisticated, multi-layered security defenses were bypassed.

“Universities are a focus in today’s global assaults on IT systems. We recently doubled the number of our IT security engineers and analysts. We also doubled our investment in top-end security tools. Obviously, we need to do more and better, and we will.”

The university is worried about future attacks on the victims of the breach, advising people do not open texts from numbers they don’t recognise and not to click on links in emails they do not trust.Affected people have been offered a year’s worth of credit reporting for free.

As Loh noted, universities are an attractive target for criminal hackers, due to their links with government, their cutting-edge research and the wealth of personal data sitting on their systems.

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