ZD Net writes Clifford Stoll, a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, once discovered a 75-cent discrepancy in billing for his university computer time. His investigation, recounted in the book Cuckoo’s Egg, is one of the best-documented attempts to track down a criminal hacker (cracker). If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. Now UC Berkeley has another mystery on its hands and a bit of egg on its face.
In what officials describe as possibly the most extensive computer data intrusion in the university’s history, a database containing up to 1.4 million names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and dates of birth may have been viewed last August by outside crackers. Sadly, the potential victims are the elderly, the disabled, and their caregivers. I emphasize that the intruders may have accessed this database; there have been no reports of identity theft from this incident, and it’s unclear whether the database was accessed or downloaded to another computer. Still, the California Department of Social Services is urging anyone who has used the In Home Social Service program since 2001 to take preventive action to stop any related identity thefts.