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Stanford University Confirms Breach, Urges Password Change

Security response personnel at Stanford University are investigating a security breach that may have exposed sensitive information of users of Stanford University Network (SUNet) computer system.

Security response personnel at Stanford University are investigating a security breach that may have exposed sensitive information of users of Stanford University Network (SUNet) computer system.

In a brief warning posted on its web site, Stanford said the “apparent breach” is similar to incidents reported in recent months by a range of companies and large organizations in the United States.

“We do not yet know the scope of the intrusion, but we are working closely with information security consultants and law enforcement to determine its source and impact,” the university said.

Stanford said it was not yet clear if any protected health information, personal financial information or Social Security numbers was compromised.

However, as a precaution, the university is urging all users of its SUNet computer system to change their passwords immediately.

Stanford declined to provide additional details on the breach, citing an ongoing investigation.

However, the school said repels “millions of attempted attacks” on its information systems each day and noted that this compromise closely resembles data breach incidents at many large U.S. organizations.

In September 2011, Stanford Hospital suffered a medical privacy breach that led to the public release of data for about 20,000 emergency room patients.

The latest breach comes amidst a barrage of computer attacks against U.S. research and academic institutions.

Written By

Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. He is a security community engagement expert who has built programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and GReAT. Ryan is a founding-director of the Security Tinkerers non-profit, an advisor to early-stage entrepreneurs, and a regular speaker at security conferences around the world.

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