By Tracy Barger
September 2, 1999
What if someone stole your computing password? They could log in as you, send e-mail as you - and assume your electronic identity.
Stolen passwords are one of the security threats posed by hackers that attempt to gain unauthorized access to computer systems.
This summer, several computer break-ins occurred at the University.
In Clark Hall, there were three related break-ins to the building's Sun workstations - the first in late June, the second in mid-July and the third in late July/early August, said William Shane Brandon, Computer Systems Engineer for the Environmental Sciences department.
Brandon discovered that the hacker had broken in to one of the computers running an old version of the Sun operating system and was using that to break in to other computers.
"They used this machine to attack other machines," Brandon said.
The old operating system on the home base computer made it easier to gain unauthorized access.
"It had a very old operating system," said Computer Center Lead Engineer Hamp Carruth, "Security holes had never been closed."
After discovering the break-in on the computers in Clark Hall, logs were analyzed to identify the people whose passwords had been detected by the hacker, Carruth said.