ASURITE back online, passwords to reset after breach - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

ASURITE back online, passwords to reset after breach

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Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:50 pm | Updated: 11:56 pm, Thu Jan 19, 2012.

Access to ASURITE, the online system used by Arizona State University students and employees to access personal education and financial records, was restored Thursday evening after being down for more than 26 hours following a potential security breach.

The system was locked down Wednesday afternoon after an "encrypted file" containing login information was downloaded by an "unknown individual."

According to an alert distributed by the university just after 7:45 p.m. Thursday evening, account holders logging in to MyASU or ASU email through the ASURITE system will be directed to reset their password.

The first alert notifying ASU students and employees of the potential breach came Wednesday at about 5:20 p.m. The alert stated that the ASURITE system may have been "compromised," although a follow-up Wednesday at 6:43 p.m. said that despite the download, "there is no evidence that any information has been compromised."

"It has been confirmed that an encrypted file containing ASU usernames and passwords was downloaded by an unknown individual. There is no evidence that the ability to decrypt this file was obtained or that any ASU system was accessed using this information," a later alert stated. "As a precaution, access to all ASU systems has been temporarily disabled until a process for resetting all passwords is in place and all systems are confirmed to be secure. Instructions for resetting your password will be sent to you later (Thursday)."

Another later alert stated that classes were to be held Thursday as scheduled, however the Facebook page for ASU Online - the university arm that administers online degree programs and courses - had a post Wednesday that said "you may not have access to My ASU or your classes until the afternoon (Thursday). Classes will resume as soon as possible, and due dates will take this into account."

According to the university's website help center, ASURITE - the Arizona State University Rational Information Technology Environment is the "primary user login for ASU computing services," with "every person at ASU" assigned a unique ASURITE user identification.

The user ID is "used to access various services at ASU," with services depending on the person's affiliation, the help center states.

Prospective students can log in to ASURITE to check their application status, while the system houses other sensitive information for current students, including grades, student loan information, and other financial information. According to ASU officials, the system was shut down to protect that information.

The university's announcement stating that the system was up and running again also contained the following message: "Please note that users may experience slow response as the system tries to accommodate the large number of password reset requests, and so we ask that all users please have patience as we restore access to the systems. Users experiencing difficulty may contact the UTO Helpdesk at (855) 278-5080."



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