Stanford University issued a statement yesterday:
The security and integrity of our information systems are top priorities, and we work continually to safeguard our network. We are continuing to investigate a cybersecurity incident at the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) to determine the extent of what may have been impacted.
Based on our investigation to date, there is no indication that the incident affected any other part of the university, nor did it impact police response to emergencies. The impacted SUDPS system has been secured.
Our privacy and information security teams have been giving this matter their concerted attention, in coordination with outside specialists. The investigation is ongoing and once it is completed, we will act accordingly and be able to share more information with the community.
Earlier in the day, the Akira ransomware group had listed Stanford University on its leak site with a note, “Soon the university will be also known for 430Gb of internal data leaked online. Private information, confidential documents etc.”
Was their announcement related to Stanford University’s? It seems plausible. DataBreaches sent an email inquiry to Stanford U. to ask if their October 27 notice was related to Akira’s announcement, but no reply was received.
The Stanford Daily reports that the SUDPS confirmed on Oct. 10 that an investigation regarding the hack was underway.
Update of October 29: The statement sent to DataBreaches last night did not answer any of the questions this site had put to them. DataBreaches replied that the statement was unhelpful and repeated the questions, but has received no reply to that (yet). But it seems that the university did confirm to The Stanford Daily that it was the Akira incident they were investigating. Chris Hoofnagle gave The Stanford Daily an explanation as to why the university might withhold information at this point:
Chris Hoofnagle, law professor and director of the Center for Law & Technology at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote to The Daily that attackers interested in police entities are sometimes “a nation state or organized crime” group.
“The first steps of identifying the scope of the breach can be quite expensive and time consuming. Almost all entities hire outside forensic firms to do the analysis,” Hoofnagle wrote.
He wrote it was “best practice” to limit information until there was information on the full scope of the breach and the network was secure. “Institutions do not want to get into a drip situation where they notify people of a breach, then later learn the breach was worse than understood, and then have to give more and more notices,” Hoofnagle wrote.
“Best practice not to answer simple questions like “Is this the same breach we are reading about on the dark web?” With all due respect to Chris Hoofnagle, DataBreaches firmly disagrees and it shouldn’t be so difficult to get straight answers to some questions. The university can state it is the same incident but that any claims by the threat actors are under investigation and should not be assumed to be true or accurate. DataBreaches is glad they answered The Daily to confirm it is the Akira incident, but they should have answered the same question when DataBreaches had put it to them.