Database attack exposes personal data at University of Maryland

The data included names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and university ID numbers

Personal records for more than 309,000 students and staff were exposed this week in a "sophisticated" database attack at the University of Maryland, the university said Wednesday.

Birth dates, Social Security numbers, names and university ID numbers were compromised for people issued with a school ID and affiliated with the university's College Park and Shady Grove campuses since 1998, the school said.

Financial, academic, health and contact information such as phone numbers were not exposed, according to a statement attributed to Wallace D. Loh, the university's president.

The cause of the breach, which happened Tuesday, is unknown and an investigation is underway by federal and state law enforcement, Loh wrote. The school has 37,000 active students.

"Computer forensic investigators are examining the breached files and logs to determine how our sophisticated, multi-layered security defenses were bypassed," he wrote. "Further, we are initiating steps to ensure there is no repeat of this breach."

Personal records are valuable to cybercriminals, who can compile dossiers on victims for the purposes of financial fraud, such as opening bank accounts or taking out loans. The data may also be valuable for other types of targeted attacks, such as spear phishing.

The incident is the latest in a string of breaches that have affected companies and organizations, including the retailer Target and Neiman Marcus. The attacks against those companies focused on intercepting payment card details from point-of-sale devices.

The university said a specific database of records maintained by its IT division containing 309,079 records was accessed on Tuesday. Loh wrote the university recently doubled the number of IT security engineers and analysts as universities have been increasingly targeted.

"Obviously, we need to do more and better, and we will," he wrote.

Those affected are being contacted. The university is offering a year of free credit monitoring and advised people to be careful when sharing their personal information.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags intrusionsecuritydata breachUniversity of Marylanddata protection

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?