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Some students have had their details exposed to hackers following a malicious access of York’s private records, the University revealed in a statement on its website on Tuesday.
Although the methods the hackers used are not clear, the University has said that 88 students were particularly badly affected. Hackers were able to view “some private information” on the group, although no financial records were exposed. The University has said it is in “the process of contacting” the 88 students to alert them directly about the breach.
In addition, the University has said that “very basic data” on a further 4 400 students was also compromised, with “less detailed” information being downloaded by the hackers.
The University has reported the breach to the Information Commissioner's Office, according to its obligation under the infamous General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.) It is also liaising with the National Crime Agency (NCA) regarding the breach. As such, the matter is now under police investigation, with the NCA reportedly “taking the lead”.
An NCA spokesperson commented “We can confirm we have been in contact with the University of York about a compromise of their systems. Investigations into this incident are ongoing so we aren’t able to comment further at this time.”
The University is “not aware” of any further targeting of students as a result of the data breach, but it did advise students to be wary of the risks of theft and misuse. Students are advised to change passwords, and beware of unexpected requests for payment or further sensitive information, especially over the coming months.