News Column

Penn Among Universities Around the World Where Records Were Hacked

Oct. 4, 2012

Robert Moran

The University of Pennsylvania was among dozens of universities worldwide that were hacked and where student and employee records were posted online this week.

Penn officials issued an e-mail Wednesday confirming the breach, which they said was limited.

"Fortunately, no sensitive information that could result in identify theft, such as Social Security numbers, PennKey passwords, bank account numbers, or credit card numbers are contained in the database that was compromised," the e-mail said.

Other universities that were hacked included Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Purdue, Rutgers, Cornell, and Johns Hopkins. The Universities of Tokyo and Cambridge were among those breached outside the United States.

A hacker group called Team GhostShell announced the release of the records Monday on Twitter.

The data were distributed on numerous sites with links listed on a page that Team GhostShell publicized. The page included a short statement about problems in modern education, including the increasing burden of student debt.

"We have set out to raise awareness towards the changes made in today's education, how new laws imposed by politicians affect us, our economy and overall, our way of life," the hackers wrote in a statement that included sites where the stolen information was posted.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the three sites listed for Penn no longer had the information.

Penn's e-mail said the university was "actively investigating the situation and will share any relevant and actionable information with the appropriate authorities, including law enforcement."

Stephen MacCarthy, vice president for university communications at Penn, said the affected database had been taken off-line and the problem was fixed.

A spokesman for Rutgers said the university was not aware of any problems.



Source: (c)2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by MCT Information Services.