Computer Crime Research Center


Carleton collars hacker

Date: September 10, 2008

OTTAWA - Carleton University is questioning a student and will be taking disciplinary action after a hacker broke into the electronic accounts of 32 students.

"He is cooperating with us. He has handed over his materials," said Chris Walters, a spokesman for the university.

A math student, a man whose name has not been released, apparently hacked into the system to obtain password information for the students and then bragged to university administration about it. Last week, a letter was sent to the university administration with a list of the accounts and their passwords. The writer claimed he easily broke into the accounts using a program that captures computer keystrokes and urged that the university improve security measures.

The breach allowed for access to the Campus Cards that students use as debit cards for campus purchases, including photocopiers, food kiosks and the book store. None of the students reported missing money.

With the information, the hacker could also have accessed e-mails, course registrations, library records and personal financial information about loans and scholarships.

Mr. Walters said the university's security department has been tracking a student for several days. The university's internal discipline in this case may include suspension or expulsion.
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