The following is the statement of Mississippi State University Director of University Relations Sid Salter:
Mississippi State University was the target of a cyber-attack on one of the university's servers, but a preliminary investigation indicates that no secure data was lost in the incident.
At approximately 8 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 9), the website Hack Read News posted that information related to 535 Mississippi State University individuals had been compromised by a hacker. A Brazilian hacker claimed credit for the incident.
MSU President Mark Keenum was advised of the incident and directed MSU's chief information officer to launch an investigation into the claim and make a subsequent impact assessment.
MSU Chief Information Officer Mike Rackley said that a preliminary university investigation revealed that no data of a secure nature--Social Security numbers, credit card information, health information or grades--was compromised. Rackley said most of the information obtained by the hacker is available from existing public domain print or digital university directories.
"This represents only one of hundreds of servers in the MSU system," said Rackley. "In response to incidents like this one and the increasing number of Internet-enabled computer attacks, Mississippi State continually modifies its systems and practices to enhance the security of sensitive information."
As a precaution, MSU's Information Technology Services is notifying and working with the users who may be affected to have them change their account passwords.
"Cyber-crimes and 'hacking' plague Fortune 500 companies, the federal government, and unfortunately is a reality in higher education as well," said Keenum. "We're very sensitive to the concerns such attacks generate, but at this point we believe that the secure data of these individuals remains safe."