Breach, Data Security, Vulnerability Management

University of South Carolina web server hacked by overseas attackers

The University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia announced Tuesday that its College of Education's web server was hacked – a discovery made in June by school officials. The breach, the largest of six that have impacted USC since 2006, may have exposed the personal information of thousands at the school.

How many victims? Approximately 34,000 students, staff and researchers at USC. 

What type of personal information? Names, addresses and Social Security numbers recorded as far back as 2005. 

What happened? On June 6, the school received an alert that the web server of its College of Education had been compromised, though officials are not sure when it first happened. The attack is, however, believed to have been launched from overseas.

What was the response? USC hired a third-party firm, Nashville, Tenn.-based Kroll Advisory Solutions, to help affected individuals monitor their credit reports for fraudulent activity. Notice of the incident was eventually sent to everyone in the server's database.

Details: The latest data breach is the largest of six that have impacted the school since 2006, bringing the total to nearly 81,000 records of USC students and staff that have been exposed. School officials said that no transcripts were made vulnerable in the latest intrusion.

The school was criticized for its delayed response in informing students and staff about the occurrence.

Source:, The State, “Hacker breach might affect 34,000 at USC,” Aug. 22, 2012.

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