UM computers hit by hackers

St. Louis Business Journal – 1:47 PM CDT Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The University of Missouri said Tuesday that the names and Social Security numbers of 22,396 individuals associated with the university were stolen by an unknown number of computer hackers.

Those affected, according to a university release, were employees of any campus within the UM System during calendar year 2004 who also were current or former students at the Columbia, Mo., campus.

Unusual activity on a computer application was noticed May 3 by the school’s Information Technology staff. UM technicians confirmed the attack the following day and were able to disable the account that was being used by two overseas IP (Internet protocol) addresses to access the database from China and Australia.

University police were notified of the attack May 7 and have contacted the FBI.

“The University of Missouri takes this breach very seriously and is working to alert the individuals whose information was improperly accessed, including instructions about how they may monitor their credit reports for suspicious activity. The University has been and will continue to work diligently to secure confidential data held in its computer systems. We are also working closely with law enforcement in our investigation of this event,” the school said in a prepared statement.

The university is alerting individuals whose information was disclosed that they should request a free initial fraud alert to be placed on their credit files by calling any one of the three national credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.

The university said more information is available through a toll-free hotline between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday: (866) 241-5619. The local number in Columbia is (573) 884-7222.

Also available is a computer security Web page that includes a question-and-answer section and ways to contact the major credit reporting agencies: doit.missouri.edu/computersecurity

The University of Missouri System is a public university with campuses in St. Louis, Columbia, Kansas City and Rolla.

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