UConn's School of Engineering targeted by hackers in China - WFSB 3 Connecticut

UConn's School of Engineering targeted by hackers in China

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

Chinese hackers targeted the University of Connecticut’s School of Engineering, the school confirmed on Friday.

UConn IT security professionals and outside specialists said they have no direct evidence that any data was removed from the university’s services.

However, it is notifying roughly 200 research sponsors as well as working to figure out how many people need to be notified about the potential compromise of personal information.

"UConn places the highest priority on maintaining the security and integrity of its information technology systems," said Michael Mundrane, vice provost and chief information officer at UConn. "That's why, in addition to assisting individuals and research partners in responding to this incident, we're taking steps to further secure our systems."

The breach was first detected by IT staffers on March 9.

"If it could happen to the government, if it could happen to big corporations that we rely on, it can happen to anyone eventually," said Emily Vergara, a UConn student. 

The staffers said they found malicious software on a number of services that are part of the school’s technical infrastructure.

At the time, school officials said they notified faculty, staff, students, visitors and roughly 1,800 users of the Lync instant communication tool used at the university that their credentials may have been compromised. They recommended the changing of passwords.

"I think it's always going to happen. There's always going to be someone who wants to get in and know things they don't want to know," said Kamila Karolaka, a UConn student. 

The university said it worked to identify the extent of the breach and secure the affected systems.

"It's kind of expected. It's a big school," Karolaka said. 

It said it has no evidence that any data was taken from the services.

However, it believes that personally identifiable information of consumers was at risk. Those whose social security numbers and other sensitive information may have been compromised will be notified.

"The unfortunate reality is that these types of attacks are becoming more and more common, which requires us to be even more vigilant in protecting our University community,” Mundrane said.

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