UT Dallas Combats Network Intrusion; Personal Data for 5,000 Potentially Exposed

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Approximately 5,000 students, faculty and staff of The University of Texas at Dallas as well as other individuals have potentially had sensitive information exposed by a computer network intrusion. The information that may have been exposed includes names, addresses, social security numbers, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers.

However, the University does not seek to minimize the concerns raised by this intrusion, and in the best interests of those potentially affected seeks to notify anyone whose information may have been disclosed.

Approximately 5,000 students, faculty and staff of The University of Texas at Dallas as well as other individuals have potentially had sensitive information exposed by a computer network intrusion.

The information that may have been exposed includes names, addresses, social security numbers, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers.

"The University of Texas at Dallas deeply regrets that data on its network may have been placed at risk by a deliberate attack through the Internet," said President David E. Daniel in a communication to students, faculty and staff. "The University is responding aggressively to defend the integrity of the system and to assess the level of the threat to information contained on the system.

"There is no indication that the information has been disclosed, disseminated or used to anyone's detriment at this time," he said. "However, the University does not seek to minimize the concerns raised by this intrusion, and in the best interests of those potentially affected seeks to notify anyone whose information may have been disclosed."

The individuals whose information is known to be involved at this time include:

  •     In the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, students and faculty as well as applicants for admission dating back as far back as 1993.
  •     All staff and faculty of the University who were employed from September 2003 through August 2005.

The potential disclosure of data was discovered Sunday, Dec. 10, by University information resources staff.

Most but not all of the networked computing resources on campus have been assessed. Investigation is ongoing and updated information will be issued via email and the University homepage, http://www.utdallas.edu. The University has reported the intrusion to the appropriate law enforcement authorities who are working with the assistance of UT Dallas staff to ascertain the nature of the potential criminal offense involved and appropriate jurisdiction.

The University is in the process of contacting those individuals whose information could have been exposed. Individuals who are concerned that they might be affected by this intrusion are encouraged to go to https://www.utdallas.edu/datacompromise/form.html to submit contact information so that the University can respond, or call 972-883-4325 to leave contact information. Further information about protecting yourself (whether your information has been disclosed or not) is available at http://www.utdallas.edu/datacompromise/

Information resources staff will continue to assess and respond to the situation. As a part of that assessment, University computers are being automatically checked by a program that is continuously sweeping the network to search out attempted intrusions.

The University is actively seeking the assistance of news media in spreading the word of this intrusion in order to best reach those potentially affected and make them aware of appropriate steps to take to protect themselves. For more information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Daniel, call Susan Rogers, vice president for communications, 972-883-2256.

About UT Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,500 students. The school's freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the university's web site at http://www.utdallas.edu.

Statement from Dr. David E. Daniel Regarding Computing Network Intrusion

"The University of Texas at Dallas deeply regrets that data in its network were potentially exposed by a deliberate attack through the Internet. We have no evidence that personally identifiable information was disclosed, disseminated or misused. Nonetheless, we have a responsibility to make full disclosure of what we learn, as we learn it. Most importantly, we want to do all that we can to assist those who may be affected by this potential disclosure in taking the appropriate steps to protect themselves.

"To date, the University has devoted all available resources to defend its system against this attack and to work with law enforcement to stop these intrusions. No attempted intrusions have been detected since 1:36 a.m. Monday, Dec. 11, 2006. Investigation and assessment of what may be at risk will be continuing. There may be further findings of data that may have been placed at risk. We will make the community aware of any such findings as soon as we can.

"To assist people in protecting themselves we are initiating the process of notifying people who might be affected. We have created a Web site that contains useful information for anyone concerned about the protection of their personal information, and we urge anyone with questions to visit the site, which links off our home page, http://www.utdallas.edu, and to use the information there.

"It is an unfortunate fact of modern life that personal information is vulnerable. The University of Texas at Dallas will examine the way in which it has approached monitoring of these resources. We are committed to enforcing existing standards and developing new standards as needed to safeguard the integrity of our systems and to protect the data with which we have been entrusted."

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