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Hack Attack Forces Texas A&M To Change 96,000 Passwords

Students, faculty, and staff are required to change their passwords after a hacker tried to break into files containing encrypted passwords to university accounts.

Sharon Gaudin

March 1, 2007

1 Min Read

Texas A&M University is forcing 96,000 students, faculty, and staff to change their passwords after a hacker attempted a network break-in.

The university, which is in College Station, Texas, issued an advisory on Wednesday alerting the campus that a hacker tried to break into electronic files containing encrypted passwords to some university accounts. The attack did not affect financial, payroll, or student administrative systems, the school said.

However, to mitigate the risk, university officials are issuing a mandate that all of the users of the school's computer system change their NetID passwords. NetID is a login credential used in many school systems.

"Despite the fact that the security violation was quickly identified and stopped, we believe it is important to take all necessary steps to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff are fully protected from unauthorized use of their private information," said Texas A&M Interim President Eddie J. Davis in a written statement. "As a precautionary measure, all students, faculty, and staff will be required to reset all current NetID passwords immediately."

The university's computer users can get updated information about the break-in and the ongoing investigation at this Web site. University officials are directing people to this site for information on how to safeguard personal information.

"Our first priority is to make sure our customers' private account information stays that way -- private," said Tom Putnam, executive director of computing and information services at the university, in a written statement.

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