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University of Wisconsin hacked; 75,000 SSNs exposed

Another day, another computer break-in: This time the University of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee campus was the target. According to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, malicious code was discovered on a document management database server. The university contacted law enforcement and after a month-long investigation realized that the database on the system contained over 75,000 records that included social security numbers for both students and employees.

Nobody is sure how long the malware was running on the server, but it was shutdown once the breach was found.  It’s suspected that the software was being used to identify cutting edge research that the school is working on, but that has yet to be confirmed.

While the forensic investigation states that there is no evidence that the personal information was stolen, the school is still warning students to be vigilant by monitoring their credit history and putting a freeze on their credit report.  It’s interesting to note that although most companies that suffer data breaches end up offering one year of free credit monitoring to the victims, the University of Wisconsin says that since there was no evidence the data was stolen, they will not offer the free service. It’s also good to know that while students may have had their identity stolen, the database contained no “academic information such as student grades,” so at least the attackers won’t be able to identify whether students passed their criminology courses.

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