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Harvard Hacked, Student Data Made Public

Harvard Hacked, Student Data ReleasedWhen applying to a prestigious establishment like Harvard, chances are you worry about a lot of things. You worry whether your essay used enough semicolons, whether that test score was high enough, and whether the recommendation from your favorite teacher didn't get lost in the mail. Chances are, though, you didn't spend much time worrying about someone hacking into Harvard's application database and stealing your private info, but that's exactly what happened to 10,000 of last year's applicants to Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

All in all, 6,600 records were stolen, including students' full names, mailing addresses, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers -- basically, everything an identity thief would ever need to pretend to be you. Even more frightening is that all that information is currently and freely downloadable via BitTorrent clients, a peer-to-peer distribution system that has no central servers. This means there's no real way to stop the spreading of this information by deleting it in one place, since files are hosted in bits and pieces across a vast network of computers.

The hack was supposedly done to show that the school's server administrator was inexperienced and unable to prevent such an infiltration. Okay, thanks, but since when did victimizing 6,000 innocent people by releasing their Social Security numbers into the wild -- to prove a point on staffing -- become even remotely considerable? Seems like these hackers have watched Live Free or Die Hard a few too many times.

From BetaNews

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Tags: database, hack, Harvard



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