Hacker attacks records at US university

An internet-based attack on computer systems at the University of Texas at Austin yielded personal information on more than...

An internet-based attack on computer systems at the University of Texas at Austin yielded personal information on more than 55,000 individuals, including past and present students, faculty, staff and job applicants.

The attack was first detected on Sunday when computer systems personnel at the university noticed that a computer was malfunctioning.

Analysis of the problem revealed that it was the result of an attack and that an administrative data reporting system used by the university had been compromised in that attack.

The attacker or attackers apparently used a "blunt force" approach to cracking the system, writing a program that input millions of social security numbers to the system. The numbers that matched records in the university database were captured.

The attackers also gained access to e-mail addresses, titles, phone numbers and university department addresses. Academic and health records were not exposed.

Approximately 55,200 people had some of their data exposed in the attack.

The university is working with the US Attorney's Office as well as the US Secret Service to locate those responsible for the break-in and is working to contact all of those affected by the attack.

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