Students and employees at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin began receiving letters this week about a data breach and the offer of two years of complimentary credit monitoring. Missourinet affiliate KZRG in Joplin reported first that the university had undergone a major cyberattack on January 8.
Two other universities experienced similar attacks, according to the online publication “BleepingComputer.” Those schools were Graceland College which has campuses in western Missouri’s Independence and Lamoni, Iowa and Oregon State University in Salem, Ore.
Missouri Southern State University leaders say they responded quickly and engaged a leading forensic investigation firm to help stop the attack. The company also provided subsequent investigation services. The university notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation Cyber Crime Task Force ant the Missouri Attorney General’s Office about the incident.
“The University worked diligently to notify all impacted individuals once the results of its investigation had been communicated to law enforcement,” says
Al Stadler, Chief Information Officer and Security officer at Missouri Southern.
He says the information obtained about each victim potentially included name, Social Security number and date of birth. Stadler said bank account numbers were not included in the information.
Missouri Southern has about 6,000 students and hundreds of employees. The cybercriminals might have targeted not only campus employees but many Missouri Southern students and, possibly, retirees who have retained their Missouri Southern e-mail addresses.
Stadler says no criminal activity has been reported. He say he knows of no arrests or indictments that have been made at this time.
By Steve Smith of Missourinet affiliate KZRG in Joplin