Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

October 18, 2013

Jacksonville College recovers quickly from website hacking

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress


An attempt to hack the Jacksonville College website was short-lived, and work to secure the site was seamless, said the school's chief information officer Mike Creech.

“The important thing to note is that it was just the website, which had public information (that was hacked), and nothing (from the school's) internal network was affected,” he said, adding that sensitive information is stored on a different, out-of-state network that is protected with military-grade encryption. “No access was ever gained to our internal network and no sensitive data was compromised.”

Creek said he was notified Monday evening by three different people about the school's page – www.jacksonville-college.edu – getting breached.

“They had placed a picture of the Joker character from the Batman movie, but it wasn't up for very long at all, because the first thing we did was redirect traffic to a back-up server,” he said. “As soon as we found it, we got it off.”

The site may have been more susceptible to the work of hackers because it was an older one, “and not running the latest operating system,” according to Creech, who added that the school decided to replace the server with a new one that has more stringent security to keep the problem from occurring again.

“We take our responsibility of protecting sensitive data very seriously – this is one of the reasons we endure frequent complaints about our strict password requirements,” he said.

JC director of public information David Heflin commended the IT department for its quick response to the problem.

“They've worked to make it so that no one can do this again,” he said. “Thankfully, nothing was lost, but it does send out a warning that you need to be aware of people out there trying to do funny things.”