Personal info of 14,000 students, staff at Auburn University com - WRBL

Text Description

Personal info of 14,000 students, staff at Auburn University compromised

Posted: Updated:
AUBURN, Ala. - The personal information of nearly 14,000 students and staff at Auburn University was comprised during a 2013 cyber attack, a university spokesperson confirms to WRBL News 3 Tuesday.

"The information on this server varies by person," Director of University Communications and Media Relations Mike Clardy says in a released statement. "[The info] mainly pertained to courses being taken by current and former Auburn students and work performed by current and former faculty and staff."

Some social security numbers were included in the data, according to Clardy. The server was associated with the College of Business computer network.

Auburn University says they were notified of the security break on Nov. 20, 2013.

"Auburn immediately patched the vulnerability and launched an internal investigation to determine the scope of the attack." Clardy says. "When it became clear that this incident could result in the unauthorized access to personal information, Auburn University hired an independent, third-party computer forensics expert to assist in identifying the full extent of data potentially exposed as a result of this incident."

The initial investigation has determined the information of 13,698 individuals was on the compromised server, which appears to have been accessed by the unidentified hacker between Oct. 21 and Nov. 20. The FBI has been notified of the incident and the investigation is continuing.

"At this time, Auburn has no evidence that the files containing personal information were actually accessed and is unaware of any actual or attempted misuse of this personal information," Clardy says. "The university is offering each person affected one free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection services."

In a letter dated March 20, College of Business Dean Bill Hardgrave notifies those whose information was on the server.

"Auburn University takes this matter, and the security of personal information entrusted to it, seriously," Hardgrave writes. "The safety and security of your personal information remains a top priority for Auburn University."

Computer expert Nicholas Jeter says anyone on the list should be on the lookout because the hackers don't want the information for themselves.

"They go in and they steal these numbers and they sell them to people in other countries, where people can more easily use them, or to people who know how to use them better," says Jeter. "A lot of times it's simply for the sake of advancement, for the sake of information."

He says passport fabrication and other identity theft is growing rampant around the world. That's a scary thought to some Auburn students.

Senior Tara Jones says, "I've lived in this town for four years now and have come to call it home. I'd like to think that nothing can corrupt it from the outside, so it's really sad to hear that someone is messing with our Auburn family."

Senior Justy Moore adds, "You think that all the information that you give them is secure and it's not going to get out, so I think it's crazy that something like that did happen here at Auburn."

Jeter says most of the information will never be used, but with something as simple as a phone number, hackers can get into your phone and compromise much more. "You look at it and you say, ok this is a phone. This is a smart phone. I can check my mail with it. I can make calls with it," he says. "That's not how hackers think. Hackers look at it, and they say what can I make this do?"

While the university is offering a free year of identity theft protection with Experian, Jeter says that hackers may hold onto information for many years before using it.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
More>>

James Brierton

James joined WRBL News 3 with experience from CNN, NBC News and his own hyper-local news site. He manages the WRBL News 3 Web desk. More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Meriwether County man murdered during apparent robbery

    Meriwether County man murdered during apparent robbery

    Monday, August 25 2014 4:41 PM EDT2014-08-25 20:41:56 GMT
    Two individuals believed to be connected with a Meriwether County murder were caught on surveillance camera in Newnan.Two individuals believed to be connected with a Meriwether County murder were caught on surveillance camera in Newnan.
    Local and state investigators release surveillance images of suspects believed to be connected with a Meriwether County murder investigation.
    Local and state investigators release surveillance images of suspects believed to be connected with a Meriwether County murder investigation.
  • FIRST ON 3: Police looking for man after Columbus mom, baby found dead after house fire

    FIRST ON 3: Police looking for man after Columbus mom, baby found dead after house fire

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:12 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:12:09 GMT
    Police are searching for suspect Brandon Connor. Before the fire, Rosella Mitchell is believed to have suffered from life threatening stabbing wounds.Police are searching for suspect Brandon Connor. Before the fire, Rosella Mitchell is believed to have suffered from life threatening stabbing wounds.
    Police are searching for Brandon Conner, 35, who is wanted for murder.
    Police are searching for Brandon Conner, 35, who is wanted for murder.
  • Murder suspect turns himself in after Columbus mom, baby found dead in house fire

    Murder suspect turns himself in after Columbus mom, baby found dead in house fire

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 11:37 PM EDT2014-08-27 03:37:59 GMT
    The man suspected of killing a Columbus mother and baby found after a house fire last week has turned himself in to police, his attorney tells News 3.Defense Attorney Mark Shelnutt tells News 3 that Brandon Conner, 35, turned himself in late Tuesday night after police named him a suspect in the death of Rosella Mitchell and her 6-month-old son Dylan Conner.Remains believed to be that of Mitchell and her 6-month-old son were found after a house fire at 1324 Winifred Lane last Thursday. Mitchel...
    The man suspected of killing a Columbus mother and baby found after a house fire last week has turned himself in to police, his attorney tells News 3.Defense Attorney Mark Shelnutt tells News 3 that Brandon Conner, 35, turned himself in late Tuesday night after police named him a suspect in the death of Rosella Mitchell and her 6-month-old son Dylan Conner.Remains believed to be that of Mitchell and her 6-month-old son were found after a house fire at 1324 Winifred Lane last Thursday. Mitchel...
  • Consumer WatchMore>>

  • Columbus gets new Walmart's...with a twist

    Columbus gets new Walmart's...with a twist

    Monday, August 25 2014 7:03 PM EDT2014-08-25 23:03:13 GMT
    Three new Walmart's are coming to town, and two of them are not your average Supercenter.Construction is about to be underway at the new Walmart Supercenter on Victory Drive at the site of the old Baker High School. Two new proposals, however, will bring the Walmart Neighborhood Market to Columbus.The Market is like a grocery store, without the clothes, hardware, etc. typical to most Walmart's.See the proposals at www.columbusga.org/planning. You can voice your opinion about the new stores be...
    Three new Walmart's are coming to town, and two of them are not your average Supercenter.Construction is about to be underway at the new Walmart Supercenter on Victory Drive at the site of the old Baker High School. Two new proposals, however, will bring the Walmart Neighborhood Market to Columbus.The Market is like a grocery store, without the clothes, hardware, etc. typical to most Walmart's.See the proposals at www.columbusga.org/planning. You can voice your opinion about the new stores be...
  • Computer security breach at Columbus UPS Store

    Computer security breach at Columbus UPS Store

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:29 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:29:51 GMT
    Malware virus found on UPS Store computer in Columbus. Information such as card numbers, postal and email addresses could have been taken.
    Malware virus found on UPS Store computer in Columbus. Information such as card numbers, postal and email addresses could have been taken.
  • Attwood Recalls Kayak and Watersports Storage Hanger

    Attwood Recalls Kayak and Watersports Storage Hanger

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:07 PM EDT2014-08-20 21:07:16 GMT
    About 10,000 Kayak and Watersports Storage Hangers are being recalled. Attwood, the company that makes the product says the length adjustment buckles release unexpectedly, causing the item being stored to fall and injure people nearby. No injuries have been reported.Consumers are advised to stop using the product and return it to the store where the item was purchased for a full refund or replacement.Model number 1191...
    About 10,000 Kayak and Watersports Storage Hangers are being recalled. Attwood, the company that makes the product says the length adjustment buckles release unexpectedly, causing the item being stored to fall and injure people nearby. No injuries have been reported.Consumers are advised to stop using the product and return it to the store where the item was purchased for a full refund or replacement.Model number 1191...
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.