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Hacker exposes financial data at Georgia Tech


By Brian Sullivan

(IDG) -- State and federal authorities are investigating a hack into a computer server at the Atlanta-based Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) last week.

An undetermined number of employee financial records and university credit card numbers could have been exposed when the server was hacked last week, institute spokesman Bob Hardy said Monday afternoon.

The university has created a special Web site for employees and other members of the community explaining what to do to protect themselves, although Hardy stressed that no student or alumni records were exposed in the attack. INFOCENTER
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The server that was hacked into contained reimbursement records for employees, some of which contained credit card information, and the records for university credit accounts used to pay for "petty cash" type purchases by university departments for transactions processed during the past 20 months.

All banks and credit card companies have been told about the exposure; all university credit cards have been cancelled and are being reissued, Hardy said.

Georgia Tech's webmaster discovered the break-in on March 11 when he noticed that the logs for the server had been erased sometime early on March 10. Research conducted by the institute's IT department showed that there had been a large spike in activity on the server over the weekend. Hardy said IT officials theorize that someone on the outside used the server to download and then upload a large number of files. They think that the hacker probably parked a movie or other large files on the server and then let his or her friends know where they could download the information. Following this process, the information was taken off the server and the logs erased.

Hardy said he believes that Georgia Tech was a target because universities, because of the nature of their business, are somewhat open and known to offer a lot of Internet bandwidth. Since the attack, access to the server has been strictly limited, he said.


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