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3 University System employees on leave after data breach

GRAND FORKS — Three North Dakota University System employees who dealt in IT security have been put on administrative leave following a massive security breach last winter.

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The personal information of more than 290,000 current and past students was vulnerable for four months before the hack was noticed Feb. 7. Several agencies looked into the security breach and found that the hacked server was most likely used as a “launch pad” for an overseas entity to access other servers.

At a State Board of Higher Education Audit Committee meeting Thursday, Lisa Feldner, vice chancellor for information technology and institutional research, said that after a workplace investigation, it became clear some employees, including the three put on leave, felt server security wasn’t part of their job.

Feldner said the IT department has installed high-level intrusion detection on 75 percent of the University System network and is working to get the job completed as soon as possible. Scanning tools that look for abnormalities and weaknesses in the system also have been upgraded.

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