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Kent State Among Thousands Potentially Hit by Russian Hack


Kent State University is among the thousands of institutions, companies and government agencies that have potentially been hit by a cyber-attack linked to Russia. One cyber security researcher says this could end up being one of the biggest hacks in U.S. history.

As many as 18,000 customers may have downloaded tainted software from Texas-based SolarWinds Corp. giving hackers backdoor access to government agencies and scores of sensitive information.

“This is the Hiroshima of cyber security attacks,” Professor John Nicholas said.

He studies computer information systems and cyber security at the University of Akron.

“Because SolarWinds is on just about every Fortune 500 company and universities around the world, what they did was they cast a very wide net.”

Nicholas said Kent State may not have been a distinct target, but personal information from students and staff, as well as university research, is extremely valuable.

“This is not a short-term hack to get something specific. This is a long-term game to have things planted on machines worldwide to really hurt the United States and the free world.”

Nicholas said Kent State’s cyber security team will most likely have to check every single computer university-wide for malware.

In a release, Kent State said it was made aware of the SolarWinds breach on Dec. 14, but said there’s “no evidence that indicates the hackers used this back door to access the Kent State network.”

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Mark has been a host, reporter and producer at several NPR member stations in Delaware, Alaska, Washington and Kansas. His reporting has taken him everywhere from remote islands in the Bering Sea to the tops of skyscrapers overlooking Puget Sound. He is a diehard college basketball fan who enjoys taking walks with his dog, Otis.