College Park, MD, United States (4E) – The University of Maryland (UMD) database was hacked on Tuesday exposing personal data of more than 309,000 students, staff and alumni to potential identity theft, school officials said.
Social Security number, date of birth, and university ID number of UMD people issued a campus ID since 1998 were stolen in the cyberattack, which the university’s IT chief said occurred between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. and discovered a few hours later. UMD has campuses in College Park and Shady Grove.
UMD President Wallace Loh issued an apology Wednesday and offered to provide a free year of credit monitoring to anyone whose information was exposed as hackers may use stolen data to sign up new credit cards and bank loans and then use the money.
Loh said the university launched an investigation within 24 hours of the breach.
UMD vice president and chief information officer Brian Voss.said the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Maryland State Police and other agencies are involved in the investigation.
Voss described the hackers as sophisticated and dedicated as they were able to work their way around the protection of the university’s server. He told Baltimore Sun that the hacker also got into the accounts of the university’s IT staff and transferred the data through a Tor or anonymous, server.
Voss also said the security system of the UMD’s servers will be changed after the hacking method was determined.