Hackers Broke Into Admissions Databases at 3 Colleges — and Then Offered to Sell Applicants Their Files

Eric Hoover reports:

On Thursday morning a high-school senior in Texas received a strange email. “You are now presented with a unique opportunity,” it said, “to purchase your entire admissions file.”

The message appeared to have been sent by Grinnell College, to which the student had applied. But Grinnell hadn’t sent the message; apparently, someone outside the Iowa campus had. Whoever it was claimed to have accessed the college’s admissions database. As if to provide proof, the message included the applicant’s correct date of birth.

The mysterious sender offered the student a chance to see his file, including comments by admissions officers, assigned ratings, interview notes, teacher recommendations, and a tentative decision. “Although the price tag is substantial,” the message said, “this offer presents a unique opportunity to look at yourself from the inside of Grinnell Admissions office absolutely unfiltered.” All he had to do was pay one Bitcoin, or about $3,900.

Read more on Chronicle of Higher Education.

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