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Princeton accused of Ivy League hacking

Princeton accused of Ivy League hacking

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (CNN) -- Princeton University admissions officials gained unauthorized access to a Web site at rival Yale University containing personal information about applicants to the Ivy League school, according to officials at both institutions.

Information on 11 applicants was accessed during 18 unauthorized log-ins to the site by Princeton officials, a Yale official told CNN. The log-ins were traced to computers in Princeton's admissions office.

Yale General Counsel Dorothy Robinson said in a statement that Yale believes the breach may have violated criminal laws and has notified law enforcement agencies. The applicants involved are also being notified.

"We do believe there was a very serious violation of the privacy of the individuals," Robinson said. "It is a matter which we believe law enforcement should be informed about."

Princeton's admissions director, who acknowledged accessing the Yale Web site, has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

A statement from Princeton said accessing the Web site was "a serious lapse of judgment."

"We are trying to determine exactly what happened and who was involved. We have begun a very aggressive investigation that will include independent, outside participants," the statement said. "Princeton will cooperate fully with any external investigation that may be conducted, in addition to conducting our own."

The Web site, launched in December, allowed prospective Yale students to find out whether they had been accepted to the school. They could access the site with their names, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

Stephen LeMenager, an associate dean and director of admissions at Princeton, told the Yale Daily News that information used to access the Yale site was gleaned from the students' applications to Princeton. He characterized the log-ins as an innocent attempt to check the security of Yale's site.

LeMenager, who has been an admissions officer at Princeton since 1983, was placed on administrative leave during the investigation, Princeton's statement said.

The Web site allowed Yale students to list personal information about themselves, such as extracurricular activities, the Yale official said, and Princeton officials would have had access to that information.

The Princeton log-ins may also have interfered with the ability of Yale applicants to check whether they had gained admission because the site only allows students to view their admissions status on the first log-in.




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