Hackers breach UNF’s housing data server

Olivia Osland

For the second time since 2010, hackers have breached UNF servers that contained the personal information of students.

The students affected were those who signed a housing contract between 1997 and spring 2011. More than 23,000 students’ names and Social Security numbers may have been compromised in the hack.

While the suspects remain unknown, a possible reason an intruder would access this information is to commit identity theft and then credit fraud, according to the UNF Department of Housing and Residence Life website.

However, the investigation has found no signs of copied or saved information.

UNF has made efforts to contact each student who may have been impacted by letters, emails or the most current contact information the student has saved.

UNF’s Housing and Residence Life said it will not be contacting students for any personal information but only for updates or to give information. UNF warns students not to give out any information if the student has not initiated it.

UPD, housing and information technology services are working together to investigate the breach and direct all inquiries to the hotline UNF provided. The hotline is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. at 904-620-5499.

In addition, UNF is covering the cost of a one-year membership in a credit protection program, according to the housing and residence website.

According to the housing website, the year membership offered by ProtectMyID includes a credit report, alert of suspicious activity, identity theft resolution, theft insurance and an option to extend services past membership expiration. The deadline for students affected to enroll is Sept. 30.

Assistant Vice President of Public Relations Sharon Ashton said Information Technology Service’s Security Director Jeff Durfee first noticed the breach. Ashton said the breach was unclear, but Durfee began investigating his suspicion immediately.

UNF’s press release points out that technology in security has constant changes and intruders are finding new ways to break through.

“It’s difficult to stay ahead of the hackers as they’re finding new ways to get in,” Ashton said.

According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a website given by Associate Director of Public Relations Joanna Norris, about 560 million records were a part of over 3000 breaches made public since 2005. These breaches include UNC Charlotte’s breach of 350,000 and Arizona’s breach of 300,000.

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse gives cases of security breaches in universities, credit card companies, and social websites including eHarmony and LinkedIn.

“It’s not just common in universities,” Ashton said, “it’s pretty much common in society.”

Ashton said UPD is partnering with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for assistance in the investigation to determine the intruder. Due to the ongoing investigation, no other comments were made.