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Hackers target University of Georgia records

ATHENS, Ga. -- Federal and state authorities are investigating whether hackers gained access to Social Security and credit card numbers of 31,000 University of Georgia students and applicants, officials said yesterday.

So far, there has been no sign the hackers used any of the information, school spokesman Tom Jackson said.

The university set up a website, however, advising anyone who applied for admission since August 2002 to advise credit reporting agencies and credit card companies that their numbers may have been compromised.

The university learned of the breach last week when it was notified that its server was being used to probe other computers in the United States and abroad, the university said. The server was immediately taken offline.

School officials worked yesterday to identify affected students and advise them to warn credit reporting agencies and credit card companies that their numbers may have been compromised.

But parent Lisa Siddle didn't plan to wait. She said she would cancel the credit card her daughter uses because of worries the freshman's personal information could be accessed. "We don't like her information to be anywhere," she said.

Jackson said the university's server security was up to date and the school could not have done anything more to prevent the breach.

"These are criminals. They're trying to circumvent security and were successful," he said. "This one happened to get into a particularly sensitive server."

The university estimated that all affected students had applied for admission since August 2002. Provost Arnett Mace said the school does not believe any academic data used to evaluate applicants was compromised.

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