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Friday, June 18, 2021

UC Davis students and staff voice concerns over Accellion nationwide cyber attack

Recent breach of private information leaves many UC Davis employees and students in a state of paranoia and questioning if their private information is truly confidential

The entire UC system, including UC Davis, fell victim to a nationwide cyber attack in which there was a breach in the private information of many employees and students. On Wednesday, Mar. 31 2021, the UC system released a statement and sent an email to the UC community regarding the Accellion cyber attack and the precautions students should take in order to protect themselves. Potential stolen private information include students’ names, birth dates and social security, as well as bank account information.

The UC advises students to sign up for a free, one-year credit monitoring program, Experian IdentityWorks, courtesy of the UC system. Experian IdentityWorks helps protect students’ and employees’ private information by notifying them if their social security, phone number or email addresses are published on the dark web. 

Marlem Reyes, a second-year biological sciences major, expressed her concerns regarding these findings. 

“I do not think the Accellion cyber attack was properly addressed; a lot of students found out through social media,” Reyes said. “The email sent to us did not thoroughly explain the situation and its consequences. [It] lacked accountability for them not having appropriate security measures in place to protect our private information, including my email and social security.”

To ensure the security of private information, UC Davis officials advise students to take precautions such as watching out for suspicious emails, monitoring bank alerts, placing a credit fraud alert and considering a free credit freeze. 

Andrea Medina, a third-year Chicana/Chicano studies major and student employee for UC Davis Student Housing and Dining Services raised concerns over the fact that individuals have to take it upon themselves to handle the UC system’s mistakes.

“I had to call Experian, my bank, social security and the credit bureau,” Medina said. “I pay all this money, and I expect my privacy. The UC system just informed us and expected us to handle everything on our own. It’s not fair.” 

The Accellion cyber attack is still under investigation, so further information has not yet been released by the UC. Students and staff still remain unsure of the measures being taken to ensure that this will never happen again. 

Many members of the UC community have expressed their concern that one year is an insufficient amount of time for free credit protection and have started a petition that demands free credit monitoring for life from the UC system. This petition has over 6,000 signatures and counting.  

UC Davis students shared similar sentiments to the creators and signatories of the petition.

“The University of California should make sure the program Experian is life long, not just temporary,” Antonio Fernandez-Arias, a second-year clinical nutrition and Chicana/Chicano studies double major said. “This is not going away, information is out there now, and the least the institution can do is extend this program.”
Written by: Emmanuel Fonseca — features@theaggie.org

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