The FBI and local law enforcement agencies are investigating the ASURITE hacking scandal that caused ASU to shut down its system last week, according to an update released Tuesday.
In the memo from Gordon Wishon, chief information officer at ASU, he announced that while no “sensitive information” existed on the encrypted file obtained by the hacker, the university will continue taking steps to reduce the risk for future attacks.
Paul Stoll, training manager with the University Technology Office, said more than 180,000 accounts were affected by the shutdown, consisting of about 90,000 active users and another 90,000 alumni and courtesy affiliates.
“This is certainly a unique event,” Stoll said. “But this isn’t the only time ASU will face something like this, nor any university. We are a large university, so that gives attackers bragging rights.”
Stoll added that a large number of stressed students, as well as faculty, staff and other ASURITE users, called in for help with resetting their passwords.
“It’s been an eye-opener for some of us with how many people use the system,” Stoll said. “The ASU community is much larger than just students, faculty and staff.”
Diego Yanez, a student worker for the University Technology Office, said a constant stream of frustrated downtown students flocked to the help desk to reset their passwords after the shutdown.
“This is the busiest we’ve ever been since I’ve worked here,” Yanez added. “Last semester, ASURITE was down for about a day but that doesn’t even compare to these last few days.”
Yanez also said the shutdown required some adjustments in UTO work schedules because the desk stayed busy up until closing time at 10 p.m.
Julie Newberg, a media relations officer at ASU, confirmed via email that the FBI will continue its investigation into how the hacker obtained the encrypted file, as well as the motive behind this crime.
Newberg could not release details about what went wrong with the system that allowed a hacker to download the file. She also said in the email that she could not publicize the new security provisions because this information could be “very helpful to a potential attacker.”
Jessikee Campbell-Walker, a healthy lifestyles coaching major, said she is glad the FBI became involved with the investigation because of the severity of this crime.
“If someone was trying to hack into the system, I want to know what they wanted,” she said. “People are smart and tech-savvy these days … If it’s a good hacker, they could probably get a hold of a lot of money somehow.”
Campbell-Walker said the situation put her behind on homework and assignments.
“Because I have online classes, I pretty much had to sit around and do nothing for awhile,” Campbell-Walker added. “I still want to know if the system is completely fixed and if they’re going to be prepared next time. Even if they increase security, will this happen again?”
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org