Category Archives: Data Security


‘Harvard Crimson’ Site Is Hacked to Take Jabs at Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

On the same day that students at Harvard University were set to graduate and hear a commencement speech by Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, someone altered the home page of The Harvard Crimson to poke fun at Mr. Zuckerberg, who famously dropped out of the university to focus on the budding social-media giant.

“Op-Ed: I did not steal Fakebook [expletive] I mean Facebook I invented it in my brain by Mick Zollywop,” read one headline in a series of images making the rounds on social media.


Attempt to Get Trump’s Tax Returns May Have Alerted IRS to Data Tool’s Vulnerability

Do the security concerns that caused the Internal Revenue Service to shut down an online tool that’s key to applying for student aid stem from a private investigator’s attempt to use the tool to get President Trump’s tax records?

That question is raised in an article by the newsmagazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, which reports that it has obtained court records that identify a Louisiana-based private investigator who is accused of using the data-retrieval tool for that purpose in Septe…


U. of Wisconsin at Madison Restores Twitter Account After Hack

The University of Wisconsin at Madison’s Twitter account, @UWMadison, was hacked early Wednesday morning and published some bizarre tweets before the university regained control of it, according to a university news release.

Around 6:30 a.m., Central time, the account started tweeting messages like: “lol why go to university when u can just sit at home and fail at life and stuff.” Four rogue messages, including a link to a music video, were tweeted from the account within minutes of one another.


U. of Michigan Says Racist Emails, Purportedly From Professor, Were Forged

Racist and anti-Semitic emails sent to students at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor on Tuesday, purportedly from a computer-science professor, are forgeries, the Associated Press reports.

The forged emails appeared to come from J. Alex Halderman, a computer-security and privacy expert, and a vocal advocate of recounts in several states following the election of President Trump. According to the AP, it is unknown whether Mr. Halderman was a target as a result of his advocacy.

In response t…


Racist Messages Target Black Students at U. of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is investigating what appears to be a cyberattack on its black students, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported.

The university said in a statement that black freshmen had been added to GroupMe accounts filled with racist images and messages, including an invitation to a lynching. The university said the accounts “appeared to be based in Oklahoma.” The police and information-security employees are working to pinpoint the location and to shut down the accounts.

“The accou…


Felician U. Investigates Email That Disparaged Black Students

Felician University, a Roman Catholic institution in New Jersey, is looking into whether hacking can explain an email students received from its housing director that insulted black students, The Record reports.

As students were moving in on the campus, they got an email from the account of Laura Pierotti, director of residence life, saying that black students had bad attitudes. The message also complained about dealing with angry parents.

Felician’s president, Anne Prisco, quickly defended Ms. …


Minnesota State Officials Shelve Controversial Rule to Examine Employee Cellphones

Administrators in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system have shelved a controversial rule that let university officials examine employees’ personal cellphones, the Star Tribune reported on Monday.

The rule, which took effect on April 1, would have allowed administrators to look over employees’ private phones, computers, and other mobile devices they use for work. The rule has drawn resistance from state lawmakers and university employees alike.

The system decided to put a hold on …


U. of Iowa Changes Name of Student Portal to Avoid Terrorists’ Acronym

The University of Iowa has renamed its portal for student information and records to avoid the acronym ISIS, the university said in a news release.

The new website, MyUI, allows students to see their grades and degree audits, pay bills, and check course schedules.

In March 2015, Iowa’s chief information officer said the university had no plans to change the student portal’s name. Now Iowa joins Kansas State, the University of Florida, and Tufts University in avoiding the terrorist acronym. The p…


Network-Security Measures at UC Raise Some Professors’ Fears of Snooping

Some faculty members at the University of California at Berkeley are voicing concerns that administrators could use new systemwide network-security hardware to monitor their emails and record what websites they visit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

In a column last week, two reporters cited an alarm raised by one faculty member, who said in a message to other professors that the “intrusive device” was “capable of capturing and analyzing all network traffic to and from the Berkeley …


Auburn Accidentally Published Personal Information of Students Who Didn’t Apply to Auburn

The personal information of 364,012 current, former, and prospective students was accidentally exposed on Auburn University’s website for six months, The Birmingham News reports. The information may include the Social Security numbers of students who didn’t even apply to Auburn.

“We didn’t apply, we didn’t send our SAT/ACT scores, we have nothing to do with Auburn, and we’re angry,” Lyndsay Medlin, a student at the University of Virginia School of Law, told the newspaper, referencing herself and…