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The University of California (UC), Berkeley, has revealed that it was the victim of a major cyberattack.
It explained that the incident, which took place in December 2015, has affected close to 80,000 current and former members of staff and students.
The victims have been notified with notice letters, which includes details about free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance.
The university said that cybercriminals were able to get into its Berkeley Financial System “through a security flaw [that it] was in the process of patching”.
Information that is stored on this system, which is designed to manage its finances, includes social security numbers, as well as bank account details.“The security and privacy of the personal information provided to the university is of great importance to us.”
“The security and privacy of the personal information provided to the university is of great importance to us,” said Paul Rivers, chief information security officer at UC Berkeley.
“We regret that this occurred and have taken additional measures to better safeguard that information.”
The university added that such attacks, against “high-profile organizations” are becoming commonplace.
Indeed, this isn’t the first time that UC Berkeley has been attacked. In September 2014, cybercriminals were able to access servers and databases in its real estate division. Over 1,600 individuals were affected.
In related news, earlier this month, the University of Central Florida (UCF) revealed that it has experienced a similar data breach.
Again, current and former members of staff and students were affected (63,000 in total) by the attack.
Echoing the comments made by Mr. Rivers, John C. Hitt, president of UCF, said that “higher education institutions are popular targets”.
Author Narinder Purba, We Live Security