Hackers hard at work at cracking Penn State‘s servers.
Personal information data for about 18,000 people might be in the hands of experienced hackers after Pennsylvania State University confirmed that its servers fell prey to two cyberattacks. While officials say that credit card information and social security numbers were not targeted in the attack, they will offer free credit monitoring to all of the 18,000 persons.
Source of one of the attacks: CHINA
To find out the culprits, Penn State handed the matter into the hands of Mandiant, an expert company that handles such problems.
After careful analyzing Mandiant experts concluded that the cyber-attack was coming from China and the information they were hunting consisted of intellectual property that belonged to Pennsylvania State University‘s College of Engineering.
Penn State is also in the process of notifying 500 of the research partners working with the College of Engineering that their intellectual property might be in danger.
According to Pennsylvania State executive vice president Nicholas Jones, the first attack took place in 2012 and Penn State was notified by the attack in November by the FBI.
These persistent attacks lasted for about two years, at the end of which hackers managed to gain access into the University‘s data base.
Mandiant also said that the suspected Chinese group also managed to steal information from other Universities as well and attacked industries the likes of aeronautics and defense.
The second attack on Pen State‘s servers was delivered by an yet unknown author, but the length of the attack is of more than a year.
Pennsylvania State‘s servers get attacked about 20 million times a year so why did these two attacks make headlines?
The reason for why these attacks are highly publicized is the fact that the authors actually managed to make a crack in Penn‘s State servers and get the information they were after. This means that these guys meant business and had the complex equipment and diligence to see the job through.
In order to recover all systems, all of the servers of the College of Engineering have been disconnected from the Internet.
Cyberattacks from China are a growing problem
The US authorities are doing all they can to stop cyberattackers from getting their hands on people‘s personal information and have increased their spendings on security. They also have a more aggressive approach when dealing with attacks and the new punishments are harsher than ever.
However, despite all their efforts, the informational attacks coming from China are nearly impossible to contain. The threat is so great, that there is now a new saying going around: Only two types of companies exist in the US. Those that have been breached by China and those that don’t yet know they have been breached by China.
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