Data Breach at University of Colorado

An American university is notifying thousands of former and current students that their personal information may have been compromised during a recent data breach.

In a security notice issued October 25, the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) attributed the breach to an unpatched vulnerability in software provided by a third-party vendor, Atlassian Corporation Plc.

Atlassian is an Australian software company headquartered in Sydney that develops products for software developers, project managers and other software development teams. 

CU Boulder said that the flaw “impacted a program used mostly by the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to share resources, such as support and procedural documents, configuration files and collaborative documents.”

Some files stored in the impacted program contained personally identifiable information (PII) for current and former CU Boulder students. Included in that information were names, student ID numbers, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, and genders.

No Social Security numbers or financial information was exposed during the security incident. 

“An analysis by the Office of Information Security revealed some data stored in the program was accessed by an attacker,” said CU Boulder.

Atlassian released a patch for the flaw on August 25. Since the incident, OIT has upgraded the software to the latest version, which is not susceptible to the vulnerability that the attacker exploited.

CU Boulder said that the Office was testing the new version and preparing to implement it when the intrusion occurred.

The university said that most of the roughly 30,000 individuals whose data may have been compromised in the incident are no longer affiliated with CU Boulder as a student or employee. Victims are being notified by the university via email. 

Dan Jones, associate vice chancellor for integrity, safety and compliance at the university, said campus officials did not know who was behind the cyber-attack. 

“Monitoring services will be made available at no cost for individuals whose confidentiality may have been compromised,” said CU Boulder.

The university said that the data breach was not connected to the cyber-attack on CU’s Accellion service earlier this year, which compromised information in 310,000 files, including student data and medical information.

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