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Maryland forms taskforce in response to cyber attack Photo courtesy of the Telegraph.

Maryland forms taskforce in response to cyber attack

The University of Maryland announced that it has formed a task force to address last month’s data breach and that the U.S. Secret Service is leading a criminal investigation into the cyber attack, according to a letter from Ann G. Wylie, Interim Vice President and Chief Information Officer.

“The data breach of February 18 has served as an urgent reminder that the protection and stewardship of our information and data systems is an issue that affects every one of us here at the University of Maryland,” Wylie said in the letter addressed to the University of Maryland community.

Wylie also indicated that the scope of the breach was smaller than previously announced. It was originally reported that over 300,000 records had been breached, but Wylie said that it was actually 287,580 records that had been breached and that 21,499 of those records contained incomplete or inaccurate data.

The university offered free credit reporting for those impacted. So far “29,757 persons affected by the breach have registered for credit protection services. We are encouraged by this number as it is well ahead of projections (based on previous data breaches nationwide),” Wylie said.

The university reported that 78% of the records in the affected database have been purged, and that “a series of identity theft and credit protection seminars will be offered this semester featuring Jeff Karberg from the Maryland Attorney General's Identity Theft Unit.

In addition to offering credit protection seminars, the university has also formed a task force on cybersecurity.

 “The complexities and issues underlying the structure of our campus-wide information systems are significant,” Wylie said.

She also noted that the breach was not exclusive to Maryland. “Since the attack on UMD, several other universities have reported breaches of their own, affirming the case that there is perhaps no more compelling issue today than the sanctity of our financial, academic, personal, and research data.”

Indiana University also announced a cybersecurity breach on February 28th.

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