Athens, Ga. – An ongoing investigation into what officials call “a criminal act of computer trespass” reveals that the personnel records of at least 8,500 current and former University of Georgia employees apparently were accessed by an intruder, UGA Vice President for Information Technology Timothy M. Chester announced today.
The initial intrusion may have occurred as early as Sept. 28. The investigation began Oct. 1 after it was discovered that the MyID passwords of two UGA employees, both of whom work in sensitive information technology positions, were reset by someone unknown. The perpetrators then used those accounts to access data contained in university information systems holding personnel records.
“This appears to us to be a planned intrusion by someone who knew enough about our operations to know which accounts to attack and where the sensitive information was located within the system,” Chester said. “It is clearly a criminal act of computer trespass, and we are working with UGA Police to investigate.”
The data that was accessed includes names and Social Security numbers as well as other personal information. Current and former employees whose records may have been compromised will be notified directly by email or U.S. mail as addresses are available for them. In that more people may be affected than are now apparent, Chester suggested all university employees take appropriate steps to guard against identity theft. In addition, UGA will provide credit monitoring for affected persons who request it.
“It is important that employees also take steps to make sure their MyID information is secure,” Chester said. “Make your secret question and answer pairs impossible to guess. Don’t use questions to which the answers may be found on your vita or your Facebook page.”
The perpetrators in this case may have been able to crack the accounts they entered through obtaining information in that way, he added. Employees may update the answers to their MyID secret questions at http://eits.uga.edu/access_and_security/myid.
Additionally, those affected should review the information contained in http://fraudconcerns.uga.edu to learn more about recommended precautions. By following the steps recommended, individuals can minimize the risk of identity theft. The site contains comprehensive information on this incident, including a frequently asked questions section. Individuals also may contact the UGA EITS Help Desk at 706/542-3106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.