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[ISN] Hacker breaches UGA system


By Merritt Melancon 
Morris News Service
Jan. 9, 2008

ATHENS, Ga. - University of Georgia officials are scrambling to contact 
more than 4,000 current, former and prospective residents of the 
university's graduate family housing complex after an overseas hacker 
tried to access a server containing Social Security numbers.

The hacker breached the security system sometime between Dec. 29 and 
Dec. 31, according to a statement UGA released Tuesday.

During that time, a computer with an overseas Internet Protocol address 
was able to access the personal information, including Social Security 
numbers, names and addresses, of 540 current graduate students living in 
graduate family housing and 3,710 former students and applicants.

University officials know what country the hacker was operating in but 
would not comment on that part of the investigation, UGA spokesman Tom 
Jackson said.

Workers took the server off line as soon they discovered the problem.

There was no evidence that the hacker used or even recorded the 
information, according to Stan Gatewood, UGA's chief information 
security officer.

"It seemed to be one of those things where the door was opened, but no 
one walked in," said Mr. Jackson. "But still everyone needs to be 

Locating and notifying all of the affected people could be prove 
difficult because many are former students from outside the United 
States, Mr. Jackson said.

In February a hacker was able to access personal information, including 
some medical information, on 3,500 current and former students from a 
server at the UGA Disability Resource Center.

"They've established a campus-wide protocol concerning patches and 
firewalls and what types of data can be held at what levels of 
accessibility," Mr. Jackson said. "But even with everything in place, 
it's hard to stop a determined criminal from breaking through."

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