The University of Virginia announced Friday, January 22nd that some of its employee’s personally identifiable information had been accessed illegally after an extensive FBI investigation.
The University has confirmed that unauthorized individuals illegally accessed the human resources computer system resulting in the exposure of the personally identifiable information of the Academic Division employees.
The attackers were able to access this information through a phishing scam caused by an employee which provided the attackers with usernames and passwords for the HR computer system. Once the perpetrators gained access, they were able to gather the W-2’s of 1,400 employees and the direct deposit banking information of 40 employees. The FBI and the University have concluded that the computer systems were accessed between early November 2014 and early February 2015.
Last Spring, the University was approached by employees stating they had fallen victim to tax fraud, but they determined that the fraud was not the result of data exposure on behalf of the University. However, the FBI now has reason to believe the tax fraud may have resulted from the breach.
The investigation is still being examined by the FBI and will announce any new involvements accordingly. Affected University employees are also being offered a free year of credit monitoring & identity protection services.
For helpful tips on how to avoid falling victim to a phishing scam, click here to read "Batten Down the Hatches! Looking at Ways to Enhance Protection Against Ransomware, APTs, and other Phishing Malware"
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