Western Oklahoma State College victim of network breach

  • Published
  • By Kevin Chandler
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
On Feb. 18, officials at Western Oklahoma State College received notice of a possible breach in computer network security from an out-of-state organization. Once college personnel investigated they discovered unauthorized software had been installed in one of the college's servers.

Mr. Kent Brooks, chief technology officer at the college, said he suspects "the software was placed there to set up a bigger attack." Fortunately, once the college discovered the software they were able to isolate the server within 24 hours.

This action was crucial because the server contained personal data; including Social Security numbers, names, mailing addresses and phone numbers. "We don't think anything was compromised," Mr. Brooks explained, "but the possibility for observation of that data (was) certainly a possibility."

"It's totally isolated from anything else we do; I mean it was really limited to patrons who may have used the library," he continued.

According to Mr. Brooks, "colleges and universities are often a target because of large amounts of bandwidth and a relatively open environment."

Students concerned their personal information might have been compromised are encouraged to carefully monitor their financial records over the next few months. Placing a fraud alert with the three national credit reporting agencies ensures an individual is contacted before any new credit applications are approved. This alert does not affect credit scores or ratings.

Ms. Nicole Lyons, director of public information, said "thanks to a quick response from the IT department and library staff, we were able to provide statewide notification of the incident within a timely manner. The press release regarding the possible breech in security was sent to all southwest Oklahoma media outlets, as well as to the Daily Oklahoman and Tulsa World." 

For complete information on the incident, visit the college website at http://incident.wosc.edu/.