O.U. Pledges $4 Million to Upgrade Computer Security

The Ohio University Board of Trustees today approved four million dollars to improve computer security after five data theft cases in 15 months. The amount was twice that requested by O.U. President Roderick McDavis.

The funding approval comes as a consultant’s report indicates the O.U. Computer Sciences Department was running annual surpluses but failed to make adequate investments in firewalls and other protection.

Other universities have taken note of O-U’s situation. WOSU’s Steve Brown reports.

Capital University says they are constantly changing computer security measures to keep out hackers. Chief Information Officer Andrew Abbott says Capital uses two firewalls and encrypts all credit card information. The university also keeps all servers on site in a security building.

Abbott says while the university goes to great lengths to protect personal information, anyone determined to break into a computer system can probably do so.

Franklin University says they have received several calls in recent weeks following the security breaches at O.U. The university’s Sherry Mercurio says Franklin does everything it can to protect personal information on students, faculty and alumni. But she declined to give specifics.

Ohio State University Director of Information Technology Policy Bob Kalal refused comment even in general terms about O.S.U.’s security procedures.

University spokesman Jim Lynch says Ohio State is aware of the O.U. incident and recognizes the importance of the issue, but decline further comment for fear of tipping off hackers.

The security breaches at O.U. resulted in the theft of personal information on more than 36,000 students, faculty and alumni including 173,000 Social Security Numbers.

An independent investigation into data thefts at the university prompted the suspension of two university employees in charge of network and Internet security. Both men face dismissal.