“When universities utilize unencrypted email as a method for submitting W2s and other sensitive documents, the information and attachments are transmitted as cleartext over the internet,” said Terry Kurzynski, partner at HALOCK Security Labs. “This format is susceptible to hackers and criminals who can use this private information for identity theft.”

Higher education officials said no matter how far schools go to prevent hacks that expose vital information, security breaches have proven difficult to avoid in recent years.

“Just as the cyber breach that took place at the University of Delaware demonstrates, there are no absolutes when it comes to preventing criminal database intrusion,” said Delaware State University spokesman Carlos Holmes.

 


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