Personally identifiable information of students and others connected with the Simon Fraser University (SFU) in western Canada have leaked in a cyberattack. 

The incident comes days after the revelation names and social security numbers of about 9,800 students, alumni and applicants of Syracuse University in New York state, United States, were accessed by an unauthorised person.

The cyberattack on an SFU server resulted in exposure of spreadsheet data containing personal information for a number of current and former students, faculty, staff and student applicants, said chief information officer Mark Roman.

“For the majority of those impacted, the personally identifiable information is their student/employee ID number and at least one other data element,” he added, giving admission and academic standing as examples.

The Vancouver Sun reported other details which leaked include grades for engineering and maths students from 2013 to 2018, grades for pre-calculus and calculus students from 1999 to 2018, lists of students who applied for financial aid between 1988 and 2017, and students who were on academic probation in December 2018.

Roman also said: “Data exposed does not include information such as banking details, Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) or passwords.”

He also commented: “Although the risk of identity theft is low, those impacted should monitor personal accounts and memberships of all kinds for any unusual activity over the next several months.”

He added: “We recognise how frustrating it is for individuals who have had personal data exposed. Information security is a high priority for SFU.

“Cyberattack attempts are on the rise with increasingly sophisticated methods to gain entry into IT systems. In response, the university has been steadily increasing the strength of our institutional information security systems and continues to do so.”

SFU is directly notifying all impacted individuals with a current email address on file. 

The research university’s main campus is in Burnaby with satellite centres in Vancouver and Surrey, British Columbia.

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