Michigan State University Discloses E-Skimming Attack; Credit Card Information on 2,600 Customers Stolen


Michigan State University announced that it fell victim to an e-skimming attack between October 2019 and June 2020, allowing criminals to steal personal and financial information of around 2,600 shop.msu.edu customers.

The attackers were able to maintain unauthorized access for nine months before university security teams became aware of the breach and shut down the operation.

This extended period allowed perpetrators to inject thed website with malicious code designed to gather and exfiltrate names, addresses and credit card numbers of MSU shoppers. However, university officials said no Social Security Numbers were compromised in the attack.

“An unauthorized party gained access to Michigan State University’s online store, shop.msu.edu, and placed malicious code to expose shoppers’ credit card numbers between Oct. 19, 2019 and June 26, 2020,” the MSU notification reads. “The intrusion was a result of a vulnerability in the website which has since been addressed. Once the university was notified, an initial investigation determined the exposed information included names, addresses and credit card numbers of about 2,600 customers. Once it became aware of the breach, the university’s information security team promptly corrected the vulnerability.”

MSU officials started to send out notifications to potentially affected customers on August 10, offering free credit monitoring and identity protection alongside additional security measures that they can adopt to avoid further exposure.

IT professionals at MSU advise all customers to look out for phishing emails, enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication on devices and accounts, and create strong and unique passwords for all online platforms.

“MSU has invested heavily in information security and will continue to do so,” MSU Interim Chief Information Security Officer Daniel Ayala said. “But investment alone is not enough. We must also continue to educate our campus employees and our broader community. We are recommitting ourselves to that important work, which is critical to protecting all those who use our systems in today’s highly technological society.”

Additionally, administrators of the online shop are required to participate in mandatory advanced trainings to prevent similar security incidents.