Last June 14, 2019, Friday, Oregon State University announced a security data breach which occurred in early May 2019. Following this, the educational institution declared that 636 student and family records became compromised in the incident.
According to Steve Clark from Oregon State University, hackers used an e-mail account of an employee working for the institution. Hackers gained access to the said account outside the university, using the account “to send phishing e-mails across the nation.”
Corvallis Advocate states that phishing scam usually disguises itself by providing recipients with seemingly official documents. These scams and emails asked recipients to input personal information such as usernames and passwords. Once logged in, the hackers use these details to gain access to other essential data.
Personal Information Revealed
The data breach affecting the company revealed Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Despite the OSU failing to reveal the specific information compromised, ZD Net reports that this can include names and addresses. Other information compromised may also include Social Security numbers and contact details.
The Corvallis Advocate notes that the 636 accounts include personal information from current and prospective students. Apart from this, the family information of these students also became compromised.
However, ZD Net states that financial records are separate from the PII affected by the incident.
Continued Action and Investigation
Following the matter, the press release by OSU detailed that the institution continues to closely examine the matter. The academe will also take extensive steps to enhance the IT and security systems of the campus.
The educational establishment says there “no indication at this time that the personal information was seen or used.” However, as part of their protocol, the Oregon State University notified the affected individuals. Besides the students, the college also notified the family members.
In addition to notifying the students and family, Steve Clark from OSU also said that it will provide support services. This includes “12 months of credit monitoring services that the university will enable at no cost.”
For concerned individuals, OSU created a customer service hotline that specifically caters to this matter. Both students and family members may call the center at 541-713-0400.
A Succession of Privacy Breaches
Oregon State University is not the only college or campus affected by privacy breaches. ZD Net reports that Graceland University also experienced unauthorized users hacking employees’ accounts. Missouri Southern State University also became a target of phishing scams.
The data privacy incident at these academic institutions all compromised their PII.