US college uncovers decade-old virus infestation

Powered by SC Magazine
 

Data-stealing malware activated at night.

An 'infestation' of viruses existed for more than a decade at the City College of San Francisco.

According to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle, the viruses were detected at Thanksgiving last year and possibly harvested personal banking information and other data relating to students, the faculty and administrators.

It claimed that the problem was contained in a single computer lab, which CTO David Hotchkiss immediately shut down and reported it to the board.

Hotchkiss and his team discovered that since 1999, at least seven viruses would begin ‘work' at around 10pm, trolling the college networks and transmitting data to sites in Russia, China and at least eight other countries, including Iran and the US itself.

Servers and desktops have been infected across the college's administrative, instructional and wireless networks, and Hotchkiss warned it is likely that PCs belonging to anyone who used a Flash drive during the past decade to carry information home are also affected.

However, he said the server with the medical information of students and employees appeared to be virus-free.

Last year, McAfee revealed details of prolonged infections in its ‘Shady RAT' report. Speaking on this news, Raj Samani, EMEA CTO at McAfee, said that a few years ago he had visited a company that had no firewalls and public IP addresses without security, which were "riddled with malware".

“In the end I rebuilt the network, but that was more to do with low-hanging fruit than intellectual property theft. If you put a computer with no protection on it then it is only a matter of time,” he said.

“All malware is noise, but if you do not have security you will be infected.”

California state law requires that cyber crime victims be notified when personal information has been stolen. Hotchkiss was quoted as telling three college trustees that "we may never know the full extent of the damage and how many lives have been affected by this". He said: “These viruses are shining a light on years of [security] neglect.”

Hotchkiss said he began the job in July 2010 and was astonished at how weak the college's computer systems had been, with officials doing little to protect against cyber attacks over the years.

The Chronicle claimed that the college has poor network design, old equipment, a "Draconian system" for agreeing new policies and little money available for new, virus-resistant technology.

Hotchkiss also claimed that some college leaders were technophobic, while hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent over the past ten years on consultants, who failed to secure the systems and lacked knowledge of even basic virus protections.

This article originally appeared at scmagazineuk.com

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition


US college uncovers decade-old virus infestation
Tags
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1458

Vote