Monday, June 6, 2011

Department of Catburglary Studies

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 5:14 PM

HSU's news department is reporting that one student has been nabbed and another is being sought in connection with multiple burglaries of the university's housing offices in April and May. According to the news release:

The burglaries involved five early-morning entries into secure Housing offices where the suspects allegedly breached interior spaces, intruded into work stations, hacked into key-card computer devices, and stole small items. The suspects left little trace of their entries, and the burglaries were initially undetected until a review of security camera recordings on May 13 revealed images of the two suspects committing the crimes.

University Police officers arrested suspect Justin Marshall Prina, a 19-year-old HSU freshman, last Friday night, June 3, and booked him into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on alleged burglary, conspiracy, and other charges, says the release. In addition, officials are notifying by letter 772 students whose records were in the offices that their personal identity information might have been compromised, although there is no evidence yet that that has occurred:

The letter advises students to take precautionary steps against identity theft, urging them to request a fresh credit report for evidence of unusual activity. 

And how did they detect these nefarious shenanigans?

Working with experts from Housing Information Technology, HSU Information Security, and the District Attorney's Office, Hansen and UPD investigators reviewed hours of security camera images and gathered other incriminating evidence before presenting the case before a judge and obtaining the arrest warrants on Friday. "The case was airtight", said University Police Chief Tom Dewey.

Here's the whole news release:

For NEWS, click on http://now.humboldt.edu

HSU Police Net Student Suspects in Campus Thefts, Hacking

A 19-year-old HSU freshman is in custody and a second student suspect is being sought for multiple counts of burglarizing Humboldt State University's Housing offices over a four-week period in April and May.

Armed with an arrest warrant, University Police officers took Justin Marshall Prina into custody near his on-campus residence hall on Friday, June 3, at about 10 p.m.  The arrest was made without incident, and Prina was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on alleged burglary, conspiracy, and other charges.

University Police Acting Sergeant Melissa Hansen, heading the investigation, has obtained an arrest warrant for a second suspect, also an HSU student, who is believed to be out of the area for the summer. He is expected to turn himself in, or to be arrested on the warrant, in the near future.

The locked Housing offices contained stored student records containing personal identity information, and University officials have issued an advisory letter to 772 students whose records could potentially have been compromised by the suspects. The letter advises students to take precautionary steps against identity theft, urging them to request a fresh credit report for evidence of unusual activity.

To date, no evidence has been found that the student records were compromised. However, HSU officials recommend maximum caution because they contained personal data.

The burglaries involved five early-morning entries into secure Housing offices where the suspects allegedly breached interior spaces, intruded into work stations, hacked into key-card computer devices, and stole small items. The suspects left little trace of their entries, and the burglaries were initially undetected until a review of security camera recordings on May 13 revealed images of the two suspects committing the crimes.

Working with experts from Housing Information Technology, HSU Information Security, and the District Attorney's Office, Hansen and UPD investigators reviewed hours of security camera images and gathered other incriminating evidence before presenting the case before a judge and obtaining the arrest warrants on Friday. "The case was airtight", said University Police Chief Tom Dewey.

In addition to the advisory letter, Mark Hendricks of HSU's Information Security Office said, "We want to assure all students that we are taking additional steps to decrease the likelihood of this specific type of incident from occurring again."

All U.S. residents are entitled to a free credit report annually and requests can be submitted at www.annualcreditreport.com. Periodic reports are considered an effective measure against identity theft.

In addition, the California Department of Consumers Affairs' Office of Privacy Protection Web site at http://www.privacy.ca.gov posts helpful information, explaining how to pinpoint and deal with suspicious activity.

Details about Humboldt State's Information Security Program are posted at http://www.humboldt.edu/security. The phone number is 707/826-3815.

Attention editors/news directors: the text of the advisory letter to students is below.

Paul Mann, News & Information, 707/826-5105

Important notice about your personal information

HSU's Information Security Office was recently informed that a locked campus office was burglarized. This office contained cardboard boxes in which documents containing your name, driver's license number, birth date and social security number were temporarily stored.  One individual is in custody and a second student suspect is being sought for multiple counts of burglarizing Humboldt State University's Housing offices.  While we believe it unlikely that your files were accessed, the possibility of identity theft calls for an abundance of caution. We urge you to take steps, described below, to help protect yourself from identity theft.

We regret that this incident has happened and have instigated appropriate legal actions against the perpetrators..  Humboldt State University takes information security seriously and has implemented numerous procedures, standards and controls to protect the University's information resources.

We recommend you request a credit report to look for unusual activity.  California residents are entitled to a free credit report annually.  You can request a report or fraud alert from one or more of the credit agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com.  Monitoring and periodically reviewing your credit report is an effective tool in fighting identity theft.  Additional information can be obtained from:

·         Equifax        (800) 525-6285      www.equifax.com

·         Experian      (888) 397-3742      www.experian.com                                   

·         TransUnion  (800) 680-7289      www.transunion.com


The California Department of Consumers Affairs' Office of Privacy Protection website at http://www.privacy.ca.gov also provides helpful information for the protection of your privacy.  You should consult it for information on how to identify and respond to suspicious activity.

Additional information about HSU's Information Security Program is available on our web site at: http://www.humboldt.edu/security.  If you do not have access to the Internet you can contact us at (707) 826-3815.  If you contact us, please provide your name and email address or phone number, but NOT personal information such as social security number.  Please note that the university will only contact you regarding this matter if you contact us first, asking us for information by email or telephone.  We will not ask for your social security number, credit card or bank information.

 

CAUTION:  In similar cases at other institutions, people have been contacted by individuals claiming to represent the university and asking for personal information.  We recommend that you do not release personal information in response to any contact of this nature that you have not initiated.

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Heidi Walters

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Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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