Personal banking information and other data from perhaps tens of thousands of students, faculty and administrators at City College of San Francisco have been stolen in what is being called "an infestation" of computer viruses with origins in criminal networks in Russia, China and other countries, The Chronicle has learned.
At work for more than a decade, the viruses were detected a few days after Thanksgiving, when the college's data security monitoring service detected an unusual pattern of computer traffic, flagging trouble.
It appeared at first that the problem was contained in a single computer lab at Cloud Hall on the Phelan Avenue campus, one of a dozen City College sites around the city. David Hotchkiss, the chief technology officer, immediately shut the lab down and reported the problem to Chancellor Don Griffin, General Counsel Scott Dickey and Board of Trustees President John Rizzo.
But a closer look revealed a far more nefarious situation, which had been lurking within the college's electronic systems since 1999. For now, it's still going on. So far, no cases of identify theft have been linked to the breach. That may change as the investigation continues, and college officials said they might need to bring in the FBI.
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