Hackers Access Financial Data At UMDNJ

April 9, 2006

Associated Press


NEWARK - Computer hackers were able to gain access to the Social Security numbers and other confidential financial information of almost 2,000 University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey students and alumni, university officials said.

UMDNJ kept the electronic break-in quiet while it investigated if the information -- including the tuition aid and loan information of about 700 students and 1,150 alumni -- could be used by the hackers.

So far, officials believe the information was accessed, but initial reports suggest that no information was taken. However, computer experts are still investigating the incident.

"We know it was hacked into because there were some things on it that did not belong -- pranks and games," UMDNJ interim President Bruce C. Vladeck told The Sunday Star-Ledger.

The breech was discovered Feb. 24 by UMDNJ's office of Business Conduct, although officials did not disclose when the incident itself occurred.

Robert Johnson, interim dean of UMDNJ's New Jersey Medical School, sent letters to students on Friday notifying them they had been "exposed to an increased risk of identity theft."

This hacking incident came on the heels of another incident in February, in which hackers tried to get into the university's networks.

However, officials said that attempt was unsuccessful because the payroll computer the hackers were trying to break into contained only test data and not actual payroll information.

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