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Second college at Penn State hit by cyber attack

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Another college at Pennsylvania State University has been affected by a cyberattack, university officials announced late Friday afternoon.

Several systems in Penn State's College of Liberal Arts has been the target of two cyberattacks, but it doesn't appear any "personally identifiable information or research data" was compromised, the university said in a press release.

However, some usernames and passwords were compromised and will have to be changed, the university said.
The university does not know who committed the attacks, officials said.

The attacks were discovered as a result of enhanced security the university has been using since a cyber attack on its College of Engineering was discovered in May.

Investigators found that in one case, attackers gained access to the college network. The "earliest sign of intrusion" to the liberal arts college system was on May 4, the school said.

The university and the cybersecurity company assisting it have "moved to rapidly protect susceptible systems and took steps to prevent the attackers from returning to the network," the university said.

"Penn State takes very seriously the security of the sensitive data in its care and we are continuing to investigate the circumstances that ultimately allowed attackers to access the network in the College of the Liberal Arts," Nicholas P. Jones, Penn State's provost and executive vice president, said in a statement. "Over the last several months at Penn State, we have implemented advanced monitoring techniques designed to better detect these intrusions, and that is what happened in this case."

He acknowledged that the university, like other large organizations, must do more to protect sensitive data.
"This is particularly challenging at a large public research university, where collaboration and cross-pollination of ideas and information is at the very core of our academic mission," Jones said. "However, this is a challenge we must face directly and with determination."

The university has begun repairing and upgrading the college's systems and network, the university said. Full operation should resume on Saturday.

Penn State also is conducting a review of all IT security practices and procedures, officials said.