Computer breach reported at UGA

September 29, 2005

By Kelly Simmons, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS - A hacker broke into a computer database at the University of Georgia, gaining access to the Social Security numbers of employees in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and people who are paid from that department.

More than 2,400 numbers, belonging to roughly 1,600 people, may have been exposed, UGA spokesman Tom Jackson said Wednesday.

The names and numbers were not connected on the documents, Jackson said, but an experienced hacker could be able to interpret the data well enough to match them. No credit card information was on the database.

The break-in apparently came from "an automated source outside the country," UGA officials said.

The university is attempting to contact individuals whose names were in the database to warn them of potential identity theft. UGA officials discovered the break-in last week. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI are looking into the security breach.

This is the second time in two years that computer hackers have broken into a database at UGA. In January 2004, intruders gained access to a server that contained the names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and credit card information of students who had applied to UGA since 2002.

No one has been arrested in connection with that incident, Jackson said.

In May of this year, Georgia Southern and Valdosta State universities each reported that hackers had gained access to personal information on their computer databases.

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