Eastern Maine Neighborhood College Suffers Hacking Attack

EMCC in Bangor, Maine, has reported an information security issue after they was discovered malware had infected many of the computers in the college. Although this has not been confirmed, it is suspected that some data has been stolen. This includes individual info of employees, related to Eastern Maine college, it is also potentially affected around 42,000 existing and past students. The security breach involved the installation of a trojan horse, which was probably the method in which the data was stolen.

A representative of Easter Maine College stated in one of its e-mails that it was possibly being over cautious but was alerting some 42,000 existing and former students and staff members of the possibility that personal details have possibly been exposed as a result of the infection.”

A caution was also released by the school on 17 August that though there was no evidence that any direct information loss had occurred. There is a possibility that some individual data such as name, Social Security Number, date of birth, and address, as well as a couple of usernames and passwords coming from the college domain in addition to email accounts might have been accessed.

Based on a statement issued on 17 August, 2018, the victims of the breach are supposedly the students of the school from the year 1998 summertime to 2018 summer, and also the staff members working between the year 2008 and 2018.

“We very much regret the trouble or concern this occurrence might cause. EMCC takes seriously the protection of individual details, and our efforts to enhance and strengthen our electronic security are ongoing,” stated Lisa Larson, EMCC President, on 17 August.

The EMCC President even more included that it is truly unfortunate that various organizations all over the world are a growing number of becoming targets of the hackers, as it took place in the case of EMCC.

We live in an increasingly interconnected world too, and these attacks can be orchestrated from anywhere in the world. Many countries have little interest in fighting cyber crime and therefore the attackers are relatively safe in these jurisdictions. It is also important that users at the college should follow all college policies when using their computers on campus. Accessing non-educational resources and attempting to access dubious sites can put the entire network at risk. Using things like proxies and non standard US DNS servers to access Netflix is also not permitted in the acceptable use policy of the college.

EMOTET is found to be the malware that is associated with this EMCC occurrence, which according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is among the most damaging malware existing on the internet. As soon as a user clicks or opens a destructive document or a link, the malware begins contaminating the computer. The minute the malware gets downloaded into a system, its worm-like properties spread through quickly causing a network-wide infection that is extremely difficult to fight.

EMCC spokesperson said that they have reported this event to the police. The spokesperson even more added that they are investigating on the breach and checking security protocols of the college. They have also offered identity remediation services and complimentary credit keeping track of to the impacted people.



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Why is an American College Education so Expensive?

The high cost of education in the USA is not a new phenomenon, indeed before most of the current colleges existed people were complaining about the huge expense.  Indeed it was reported in the New York Times in 1875 that men were spending more to educate their sons for one year  than they had spent in four years.accessing BBC iPlayer with DNS


The reason was not huge college fees, or expensive books but the writer claimed it was purely decadence.  Expensive apartments, sports and dining out were cited as the main reasons for the huge cost of obtaining a college education in 1875.

In current day USA, the costs of a college education have been steadily rising and there’s a growing sense of unease that it’s becoming more and more unaffordable.   The present day statistics are shocking, the US now spends more on college than virtually any other country in the world.  Various reports including from the OECD have found that obtaining a college degree in the USA costs more than almost any other place on the planet.

It’s not just lower income families who are struggling to cover the costs of education.  The levels are extremely high and many people are only coping with many family contributions, and a combination of loans, grants and other assistance.  Most developed countries have costs around $15000 a year per student, however in the USA it’s about twice that cost.   There’s no other large country that comes even close to this figure even in countries like the UK which are becoming increasingly concerned about the rising costs.    The only country which has a similar costs is a much smaller one – Luxembourg however the tuition is actually free because it is subsidized by the Government.

There are of courses two main questions that probably arise in the minds of both potential students and their parents – why is it so expensive and is it worth it!

After all the USA is no more expensive than many developed countries indeed in many basic cost of living areas it’s actually much cheaper. Obviously this varies depending on location but there’s nothing here that directly points to the huge costs differences.

There are some factors which obviously contribute, the US spends more than anyone on student welfare, health, housing and transportation which are classified in most reports as ancillary services.  However these only represent a proportion of the costs and it is estimated the US student  will spend about $3300 on these every year which is about double in most other countries.

There are of course lots of ways to reduce these costs, for example community colleges are becoming more and more popular because they’re more affordable.  However there is still some stigma involved in College education and a mentality among some that ‘you get what you pay for’, slowly though that is changing simply because of the huge sums involved.  Students in the UK since the abolition of grants and introduction of student loads are frequently studying in colleges near their homes.  Indeed many are even taking much of their course online, indeed you can take them from abroad if you invest in a simple VPN or the circumvention tool mentioned in this post about the BBC DNS service.

Why such a large cost difference?  Well one of the main reasons, is that US college students are likely to live away from home.  This increases expenses greatly because they have to supply all their food and accommodation requirements as opposed to many European students who live at home while studying in college.    What’s more these services are often supplied by the colleges themselves often at a premium rate.  Also there are many other services that are provided which also cost the student additional amounts.   However the majority of costs are simply on core educational operations and the expenses are due to things like high costs of salaries.