Hackers breach University of Wisconsin server

Kris Alingod – AHN News Contributor

Milwaukee, WI, United States (AHN) – The Social Security numbers of 75,000 students and employees at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been exposed after hackers planted malware in a campus server.

In a letter to the university, chief information officer John McCarragher said there was no evidence that personal information was stolen but urged students and staff to monitor their financial information. He said school officials, upon becoming aware of the malware on May 25, immediately shut down the infected server and reported the attack to authorities.

The server housed a database of names with Social Security numbers, as well as files with personal data but no financial information such as credit card numbers or bank accounts.

The university, the second largest in the state, investigated the attack with the help of a security consultant and discovered on June 30 that the database with Social Security numbers “was accessible to the hackers.”

Investigators have been unable to identiify the individuals behind the attack. According to McCarragher, there was no proof that hackers downloaded names or Social Security numbers.

“However, because any incident that potentially exposes personal information could contribute to the risk of identity theft, we encourage you to take steps to protect your identity,” he said.

The university has upgraded the security on its computer system. “The university takes computer and data security seriously,” McCarragher assured. “We continue to provide strong protection for our systems and campus computers.”

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