TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Harvard Applicants Breached Security

Harvard Applicants Breached Security

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 6 Mar 2005 03:40:06 -0500

Tried via computer to learn status

By Hiawatha Bray and Robert Weisman, Globe Staff | March 4, 2005

For at least two hours after midnight Wednesday, a computer hacker
enabled applicants to the Harvard Business School to find out whether
they'd been accepted, weeks before Harvard planned to release the

According to Harvard, more than 100 would-be graduate students took
advantage of the digital loophole, and some of them glimpsed
preliminary decisions on their applications. The loophole affected
other schools, including the Sloan School of Management at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and business schools at
Stanford, Duke, Carnegie Mellon, and other universities. But officials
at Stanford and MIT said none of their admissions decisions had yet
been posted to their sites.

In a security breach at ApplyYourself Inc., the Fairfax, Va. company
that runs the admissions computer systems for the business schools and
400 other colleges and universities, a hacker found a way to let
applicants peek at confidential admissions data. "This is the first
incident of this kind," said Len Metheny, the chief executive of
ApplyYourself. "Once we learned about it, within literally 2 (?) hours,
we had made appropriate adjustments to the system ... We still
remain confident that it's a secure system."

But Steven Nelson, the executive director of Harvard's MBA program,
said their admissions data were vulnerable for nine hours, during
which 119 applicants from countries around the world tried to get at
their admissions status.

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