RealTime IT News

California University Computer System Hacked

Colleges and universities around the country will likely be guarding their computer networks a little closer from now on, after several institutions' systems were hacked this month.

Officials at California State University, Chico, announced that that they were the latest victims of hackers who had broke into a housing and food service computer system that contained vital information about 59,000 current, former and prospective students, as well as faculty and staff.

The school said most of the records belonged to students who had attended classes within the past five years. Officials said they would notify those affected by the breach. There is no indication that the hackers were targeting confidential information, school officials said.

The vital information accessed included names, addresses and Social Security numbers.

In a statement on the school's Web site, officials said the hackers installed root kit software on the system for storing music, movie and game files. They also attempted to break into other university computers, the school said.

The university said it will no longer require students and employees to provide Social Security numbers in its campus identification systems.

As previously reported by internetnews.com, a computer system that stored fundraising information of possibly up to 120,000 alumni of Boston College was hacked last week. The vital information also included names, addresses and Social Security numbers.

Jack Dunn, a Boston College spokesman, said the school alerted alumni to the breach but was convinced no personal data was stolen. Dunn said the hacker planted a program that could be used to launch attacks against other computers.

And earlier this month Harvard University said a hacker gained access to its admission systems and helped applicants log on to learn whether they had gained admission before the results were released. The school said it would deny admission to those applicants who hacked into the system.