A person who applied to Harvard Business School posted instructions on
how to check the application status at several business schools,
including Stanford, Duke and Dartmouth, on Business Week's online
technology forum this week.
Roughly 100 people who applied to Harvard followed the directions, but
many did not learn their fate since decisions had not been entered
into the computer yet. Harvard's next batch of acceptances will be
sent out later this month.
"The school views this as electronic breaking and entering, and
regards this as a very serious breach," Harvard Business School
spokesman Jim Aisner said. The school has identified all people who
tried to check their status, Aisner said. He did not say whether those
applicants were accepted or rejected.
The schools all use ApplyYourself, a Fairfax, Virginia-based company
that manages Web pages used by students to apply to roughly 300
universities. The schools also use the company to tell applicants if
they got in.
ApplyYourself Chief Executive Len Metheny said the company made
immediate modifications to its systems and applicants did not obtain
information about anyone but themselves.
"The person who did this reverse engineered a way to access the
decision page for his own record and then told others how to do it,"
The Harvard Crimson, which first reported the story, said the hacker
wrote: "I know everyone is getting more and more anxious to check
(the) status of their apps to (Harvard Business School). So I looked
around on their site and found a way." The notice has been removed
from the Business Week site.
Officials at the schools and ApplyYourself would not say whether they
plan to press charges.
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