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Vulnerabilities / Threats

Harvard Site Hacked, Posted to BitTorrent

Site is brought down, sensitive data posted on Web

The Website of Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences was brought down yesterday, and its backup server file has been posted to BitTorrent.

A compressed 125 Mbyte file that purports to be the database for the Website of Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is still available via the BitTorrent peer to peer network. "Stupid people, you don't use a secure password," says a note preceding the posting. The file is also listed on The Pirate Bay, according to a report.

A note attached to the torrent claimed the file contained a backup of the site -- including some contacts files and other files associated with Joomla, an open-source content management system. Experts said the files appear to be legitimate.

The hacker claims the stunt is intended to demonstrate the insecurity of Harvard's server. The writer also exposed what purport to be user names and passwords belonging to two of the site's system administrators.

Harvard has not commented publicly on the hack.

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