Burglary leads to computer security breach at Weber State

Wednesday , August 06, 2014 - 2:37 PM

Standard-Examiner staff

OGDEN — Police say Weber State University has experienced a potential computer breach in two campus buildings.

Campus officials have begun to notify 1,200 students, faculty and staff about information possibly obtained from computers in the student computer lab in the Science Lab Building and Building 4, according to Allison Hess, WSU director of public relations.

“What’s interesting is that it primarily occurred in one lab in one building, so we were able to clearly identify who it was,” said Hess, explaining further that each computer must be logged into in order to use.

A small number of faculty and staff computers were also compromised, she said.

A burglary in both buildings permitted unlawful access to personal information entered into computers and to exams. Charges were filed against a suspect in the case, a WSU student, on July 29.

“A faculty member noticed unusual activity, so they notified I.T., who then contacted the police,” Hess said. “Police made the arrest shortly after.”

Bret Ellis, vice president for Information Technology, said in a press release Wednesday, "The security measures WSU has in place helped us alert campus police who quickly identified a suspect." 

The WSU notification process began Monday, Aug. 4, via mail, which they expected to take several days. The letter explains the incident and provides information on additional resources to help individuals affected.

WSU’s Security office staff has already prompted most individuals affected to change their WSU passwords since the breach. The notification letters advise the same. Letters were sent to alert the public and because “we want to make sure that anyone impacted knows,” Hess said. 

“Incidents like this serve as a reminder about the importance of regularly updating and changing account passwords,” Ellis said.

Hess agreed.

“With the recent Russian mobsters, and BYU experiencing a similar problem also recently, it just reminds ourselves and others to take precaution when working with computers,” she said. “It’s a problem we all have, so we have to be aware.”

Those who used computers in that lab between January and April, or faculty and staff office computers in the Science Lab Building or Building 4, may request help with a credit check or receive more information by calling 801-626-7070 or emailing security.info@weber.edu.

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