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 PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags intrusionsecuritydata breachUniversity of Marylanddata protection

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

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.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?