By Daniel Johnson-Kim, Editor in Chief
A university server containing students’ password and personal information was hacked, prompting Information Technology to urge students to change their myACU account passwords.
Although someone was able to illegally access the server, the evidence does not reveal that sensitive information was taken, said Kevin Roberts, associate vice president of operations.
Roberts said the push to change passwords, which was sent in a campus-wide e-mail Friday, was simply a precautionary measure to prevent any information from being misused, while the university investigated the incident.
“In every bit of our investigation there is absolutely nothing to indicate that people’s identifiable information was accessed,” Roberts said.
Roberts would not go into the specifics of the investigation or give the name of the suspect who is believed to have hacked the server. The ACU Police Department is involved in the investigation, and Roberts said a possibility exists that the person who hacked the system will face criminal charges.
“Anytime you compromise people’s data, it’s a criminal offense,” Roberts said. “So we’re trying to figure out what the scope of it was.”
Roberts said during his more than 10 years at ACU nothing like this has happened before, and it is unusual for someone to break through the digital security measures the university has in place to protect information. He said the personal information of members of the ACU community is spread throughout multiple servers, and the “hole” the hacker found has been fixed.
“We have made sure that the hole they found has been blocked and plugged and can’t be accessed again by anybody else,” Roberts said.
Roberts urged anyone who has not already changed his or her password to do so. He advised against using something someone could discover easily, like one’s birth date. He said ACU community members should regularly change their password to prevent illegal access to their information, and not only swap their password in an emergency such as this.
“The world is not a safe place, so whether it is for ACU stuff, your bank account or whatever it is, it is a good idea to change your passwords regularly,” Roberts said.