Harvard Hacked, Colleges and Universities Increasingly Vulnerable
July 6, 2015
On Thursday, Harvard University became the most recent in a long line of network security breach victims, spotlighting a growing trend of hackers targeting colleges and universities. The oldest university in the U.S. disclosed on its Website it had uncovered a breach on June 19 affecting several of its departments including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard Divinity School, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Central Administration, the Graduate School of Design, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In a Cyber Alert on its Information Security Website, Harvard said it is concerned about login credentials used to access individual computers and email accounts.
“At this time, we have no indication that personal data, research data, or PIN System credentials have been exposed,” the statement said.
While retail hacks like Target and, more recently, Sony received more publicity, attacks on the networks of colleges and universities are increasingly common. Just days before Harvard disclosed its breach, CardNotPresent.com CEO Steve Casco was interviewed regarding the subject for a news report that aired on CBS’s Tampa affiliate highlighting the rich trove of data available on university systems to cyberthieves. Casco detailed the risk not only to students, faculty and staff, but their families as well.
In 2014, 30 institutions of higher learning in the U.S. alone reported security breaches, with five affecting more records than the Sony hack. Intrusions at Butler University, Indiana University, North Dakota University and the University of Maryland compromised nearly a million records combined.