Officials: Student information is secure


    TCU’s computers are protected on a number of levels in an effort to prevent hackers from obtaining personal information stolen from servers, officials said.TCU uses several lines of defense, said Bill Senter, manager of technical services. There are security measures built into both the databases and the servers that host the databases. Also, network access to those servers is restricted through firewalls and limitation of physical access.

    In early August, hackers broke into a server at the University of North Texas and stole thousands of students’ personal information. If TCU encounters a situation like UNT, an incident response plan would be initiated, Senter said.

    “(TCU) would verify that a potential loss of confidential information had occurred, determine what information was exposed and to whom it belonged,” Senter said. “Next, we would take measures to contain and control the incident to prevent further unauthorized access to or use of personal information.”

    TCU students are left wondering how their information is being protected.

    Anna Wilhelm, a sophomore mathematics major, said it’s scary.

    “We take it for granted, and when (security intrusions) happen, it slaps you in the face,” Wilhelm said.

    Amelia Rankin, a junior movement science major, said TCU should send out general information to students about how personal information is being protected and what students should do if their information is compromised.

    During the UNT security breach, credit card numbers were exposed, according to the North Texas Daily, UNT’s student newspaper.

    TCU financial aid records do not contain credit card numbers, said Mike Scott, director of financial aid. Nothing confidential is stored on desktop machines.

    On average, there are more than 1.3 million invalid connection attempts, or probes, per day from the Internet, Senter said.

    A security breach on the level of UNT has never happened at TCU, he said.

    The most common breach is a virus, said Dave Edmondson, associate provost for information services. In August, TCU had to cancel registration for orientation because of a virus, he said

    However, a virus was not the problem at UNT.

    In two separate events, hackers broke through the UNT firewall.

    In the first security breach, a server containing housing records dating back to 1999 was hacked into, according to the North Texas Daily. In a separate incident, financial aid inquiries containing 584 credit card numbers, along with Social Security numbers, were exposed.

    UNT’s system is one of several university systems hacked into this year, according to the North Texas Daily. Others include Northwestern University, Michigan State University, Georgia Southern University and California State University at Chino.