11 Aug 2011

University hack compromises 75,000 names, Social Security numbers

A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee online image bank containing the names and Social Security numbers of about 75,000 current and former students and employees was hacked last spring, school officials recently announced.

The university says it shut down compromised servers after discovering the malware infection on May 25. In June, an investigation found a database containing student application information on the hacked system, and the school sent letters to potentially affected individuals on August 10.

Tom Luljak, UWM vice chancellor for university relations, told The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that school officials doubt the hack was an identity theft operation. Rather, they think it was an attempt to collect data from faculty and student research projects.

Though there is no evidence hackers downloaded names and Social Security numbers from the infected database, the university cautioned potential victims to monitor their bank and credit card accounts for unusual activity.

Last March, Penn State-Altoona discovered a similar malware hack, in which 12,000 student and faculty Social Security numbers were exposed.