The information of students at one college may be in danger after a recent hacking.

College breach shows backup’s importance

Stephen Perkins

The information of 125,000 people who applied or took classes over an eight year period at a community college in Iowa was exposed after cybercriminals hacked into an online database, according to The Associated Press. Kirkwood Community College, located in Cedar Rapids, said hackers using an international IP address hacked into a student application database in March, after which the school noticed the spike in activity and shut down the database. This shows why organizations need online data backup, as a worst-case-scenario in this situation could be these records all being permanently gone from the school's system without quality data backup.

"The college said the database contained the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, race and contact information for those who applied for courses from February 2005 through March 2013," according to the AP. "No financial information or grades were stored in the system, and the breach did not affect tens of thousands of students who take continuing education classes."

Kristie Fisher, vice president of student services, said the school sent letters were sent to people who might have been affected by the hacking and it was announced a few days later in the public. So far, there have been no reports of any identity theft or crime as a result of, but the school had to pay a security company an initial cost of $350,000 to investigate the incident. While the school does have protection in place, there Kirkwood may need to be more data backup and security in place to ensure a hacking occurrence such as this does not take place in the future.

In this instance, the school said there was no financial value lost. Fisher told that it was the hacked database only contained information specific to applications of students and not financial aid or monetary records. However, without better protection and data backup in place across an entire organization, there is always the risk for money or more sensitive data to leak out.

Categories: Data Protection