In a cyberattack involving the Accellion File Transfer Appliance (FTA) service hackers stole personal information of students, staff, and more victims, the University of California (UC) confirmed this week.
The initial attack took place in late December 2020, but it wasn’t until this week that the University has confirmed the attackers indeed stole a great deal of personal information of “employees (current and former) and their dependents, retirees and beneficiaries, and current students, as well as other individuals who participated in UC programs.”
Hackers exploited a critical vulnerability identified in the decades-old file sharing service, Accellion FTA. To date, the flaw has already impacted tens of companies, government agencies, and universities.
In early April, we’ve reported that UC confirmed the operators of Clop ransomware were responsible for the attack. At the time, hackers published some information allegedly stolen from the university and other entities on their Tor-based leaks website.
This week, the university confirmed the stolen information may have included names and addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, passport information, financial data (incl. bank routing and account numbers), health and related benefit details, disability information, and possibly more.
The university is currently trying to identify the individuals whose personal information had been stolen and their contact information. The school says the affected individuals will receive a notification within the next 45 to 60 days.
“We are also separately notifying individuals who started or completed applications for the 2021-22 school year whose contact information (name, email address and phone number) was impacted. Their notification will contain information pertinent to those individuals,” the university officials said.
The data breach impacted no other system, but the file transfer system. The university says it has already started to move away from the Accellion service to a more secure solution. It is taking steps to improve the overall security of the school’s network.
The university is still collaborating with the FBI to further investigate the incident.