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University of Maryland Discloses Massive Data Breach

Feb 20, 2014 // Andrew Stroup

Officials at the University of Maryland are reporting that hackers have compromised their system and gained access to more than 300,000 student, faculty, and staff records. The secure database contained social security numbers, birth dates, and school ID numbers dating back to 1988 for both its College Park and Shady Grove campuses. While the full extent of the infiltration is still being assessed, the University has said that it does not appear that hackers made off with any financial or health information. This most recent attack comes after a wave of recent high profile data thefts, which has brought public awareness of cybersecurity to an all time high.

Brian Voss, vice president and chief information officer for the university, told the Washington Post that the hackers didn’t change anything within the university’s computer systems. However, he says, they essentially ‘made a Xerox of it and took off.’ Voss says that what concerns him the most is the level of sophistication the hacker – or hackers – used to gain access to the university’s private records. Voss says that this breach isn’t like most cyber attacks, where ‘someone left the door open’ allowing an easy way in for any average hacker.’That’s not what happened here,’ Voss said. ‘There’s no open door. These people picked through several locks to get to this data.’

University president Wallace D. Loh has publicly apologized for the attacks, stating that the university was working with state and federal officials to identify the intruders. The university is offering one year of free credit monitoring for those affected by this hack.