Home CommentaryEditorial Calling for transparency from the administration during a cyber crisis

Calling for transparency from the administration during a cyber crisis

by The Concordian September 13, 2016
Calling for transparency from the administration during a cyber crisis

The university has yet to give a follow-up on the security breach that happened in March

Technology can often be a double-edged sword. It can give us to have access to vast amounts of information at our the edge of our fingertips, but also, at times, it can leave us vulnerable to cyber crimes.

The Concordian is not immune to this—our Twitter account got hacked two weeks ago, sending our masthead into a frenzied state of panic. We survived the virtual ambush like true journalistic warriors, and our account was eventually restored. But it made us think twice about our own cyber security.

Then, this past weekend, both La Presse and the Montreal Gazette released articles detailing how the police are looking for two suspects (pictured) who stole sensitive data from thousands of Concordia students in March 2016.

The two suspects—men aged 20 to 35—reportedly put physical devices known as keyloggers into computers in both the Webster and Vanier libraries, and gained access to an “information technology centre,” according to the Montreal Gazette. The same article details how these two individuals accessed thousands of personal student profiles, with eight victims having already filed reports with the Montreal Police.

When these keyloggers were found back in March, the university sent out a mass email advising students and staff to change their passwords and to be vigilant—especially if they used one of the express stations.

“The danger here is that, if somebody here was to access personal information, accessing their Concordia personal files or their bank account, that the information could be captured on a keylogger,” said university spokesperson Chris Mota, in an article we published back in the spring.

While we applaud the administration’s transparency back in the spring, we can’t help but feel a bit bitter right about now. Why did we have to read about these new developments in the local media regarding the same cyber breach that happened months ago—why didn’t the university send out a memo immediately? This type of information is of concern to the entire student body.

There have been no follow-up emails from the university since March 29, nor any details on how the university plans to protect our information in the future.

Instead of sending us redundant emails about “informal get-togethers” with the President of Concordia, why not tell us about the possible dangers going on in our very own school, especially since we—the students—are most likely to be the ones in a compromising position.

It’s embarrassing to see our campus affairs aired out in the media, and to learn about them through news outlets rather than from the university itself.

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