Hackers get details of 47,000 current, former students in Deakin Uni cyberattack

Key points

  • The details of 47,000 current and former students of Deakin University have been compromised.
  • Nearly 1000 students received a scam text from a third-party provider the university had used before.
  • The university is working with the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner to improve cybersecurity.

A cyberattack at a Victorian university has compromised the contact details of nearly 47,000 current and past students as well as some of their recent results.

The incident at Deakin University follows a hacker accessing a staff member’s username and password and information held by a third-party provider.

Deakin University has experienced a cyberattack, compromising the data of 47,000 current and former students.Credit:Vicky Hughson

The university said in a statement it became aware of the incident on Sunday, and that it had used the third-party provider in the past to send text messages to students.

The breach led to a text message sent to 9997 students claiming they had a parcel available and requesting a payment for a customs fee.

The hacker downloaded the contact details of 46,980 current and former Deakin students, accessing names, student IDs, mobile numbers, email addresses and comments which included recent unit results.

“Immediate action was taken by Deakin to stop any further SMS messages being sent to students and an investigation into the data breach was immediately commenced,” the university said in its statement.

The university says it is continuing to investigate the incident, has engaged with the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) and is working with the third-party provider to improve cybersecurity.

The most recent OVIC annual report shows the office received 159 data breach notifications in 2020-21, a 66 per cent increase.

A cyberattack at RMIT forced the university to suspend new enrolments and some classes at the beginning of the 2021 school year, and defer a returned planned to campus for academic staff.

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