May 25, 2006 8:05 PM PDT

Sacred Heart is latest university to be hacked

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University server in hackers' hands for a year

May 21, 2006

Schooled in security

August 18, 2005
Sacred Heart University is the latest school to be victimized by hackers, according to a message posted on the school's Web site.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based university said in the posting that it discovered the intrusion on May 8 and notified police and the FBI, which have launched investigations. Sacred Heart offered no details on when the hackers may have entered the system or the kind of information that may have been exposed.

School officials could not be reached for immediate comment. But television news channel WTNH reported Thursday that the school has notified about 135,000 people that their personal information, including Social Security numbers, may have been compromised. Some of the people notified, according to WTNH's report, have never been associated with Sacred Heart.

The news channel quoted an unnamed source who said that the school told him that his name, address and Social Security number were obtained by the university from information he provided when he took his college entrance exams eight years ago. The report didn't say why Sacred Heart would collect the data, but schools often gather such information for recruiting purposes.

Universities are easy pickings for data thieves, or so it seems to critics. Dozens of schools from across the country have suffered electronic intrusions during the past two years, and some security experts have questioned whether schools are committed enough to safeguarding sensitive data entrusted to them.

Avivah Litan, a security analyst with research firm Gartner, has said the nation's universities don't take the issue of security serious enough and "don't want to spend money" on taking necessary precautions.

Litan made the statements last week after learning that hackers had control of a computer server at Ohio University for more than a year. The university said earlier this month that two other servers were broken into and that about 200,000 Social Security numbers were exposed as well as some student health records.

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7 comments

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No Skin Off Their Backs
The unnecessary collection and mishandling of personal information will not stop until a few high profile class action lawsuits are filed and judgements are awarded that bankrupt the guilty institutions. Let the filings begin!
Posted by CancerMan2 (74 comments )
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Let me fix that for you
I'm not disagreeing with your comment, but you missed a couple words, so I'll insert it for you.

The unnecessary collection and mishandling of personal information will not stop until a few high profile class action lawsuits are filed and judgements are awarded [to lawyers] that bankrupt the guilty institutions. Let the filings begin!
Posted by nmcphers (261 comments )
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looking to start or join class action suit against Sacred Heart
My son is one of the over 135,000 studens that received this letter from Sacred Heart dated May 12, 2006. Does anyone know if there is a class action? Is anyone interested in starting a class action? Thank you for your attention to this matter!

Ken Lewis
e mail = rockandrollken@aol.com
phone: 631-689-8005 or 631-926-1289
Posted by rockandrollken (2 comments )
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Yes!
I could not agree more! Until the rich get pimped like the rest of us, we are all screwed!
Posted by stacksmasher (8 comments )
Link Flag
cost is the reason
Start looking around, colleges. There are affordable solutions that can protect your student data so you don't end up in a lawsuit when it's compromised. You need to start treating your institutions like the businesses they are.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/products.htm</a>
Posted by 209979377489953107664053243186 (71 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re: Sacret Heart, latest University to be hacked
My son is one of the victims. Does anyone have an attorney that can start a class action over this? Please write to:

rockandrollken@aol.com
Posted by rockandrollken (2 comments )
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