Family says personal information compromised in SLU ‘cyber incident’ resulted in identity theft

Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 3:57 PM CST
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HAMMOND, La. (WVUE) - A family says they are fighting to secure their son’s identity after they believe his personal information was compromised in a cyber security breach at Southeastern Louisiana University.

The university is trying to restore all of its networks two weeks after what they have called a “cyber incident.”

“It’s been pretty bad,” said freshman Jasmine Thibodeaux.

Louisiana State Police are working with the school to find out who or what is responsible for the outage.

For the last two weeks, Thibodeaux has been walking to Mcdonald’s to get the internet needed to do her math homework.

“I’m just afraid my information will get stolen,” said Thibodeaux. “That’s the biggest talk. When the internet went out we’re like, ‘Oh no, what if the hacker has all of our information?’”

University president John Crain told students the network incident is, “no less disruptive than the many hurricanes we have survived,” in an email.

A message from the President The Southeastern Family has endured numerous hardships, emergencies, and disasters over...

Posted by Southeastern Louisiana University on Thursday, March 2, 2023


But the DiMaggio family says they’re weathering a different kind of storm from the outages, a case of identity theft with bank accounts open in their son Tyler’s name.

“We were made aware about several other people that also had bank accounts being opened and things like that in their name,” said SLU parent Jason DiMaggio. “It just became really important for us to try and figure out how to put a stop to it and how to educate others and how we can turn around and deal with fixing the problem going forward.”

The DiMaggios aren’t upset with the university but hope their story will encourage other families to be proactive.

“They’re starting their life and credit is huge in anything you do in life today,” said Jason DiMaggio. “You can’t buy a house, you can’t buy a car, nothing.”

The Wi-Fi is back on at the Student Union, library, and all dorms. Key semester dates have been pushed back to accommodate the interruption.

“The way technology is - and it’s so prominent in today’s day and age - it’s just a matter of time for most people and they just need to be aware of what could happen, the steps you need to take to fix it in case that happens,” said Tyler DiMaggio.

Now, students say they are still moving forward with classes, working with teachers on a case-by-case basis.

“It’s not just students,” continued Tyler. “Teachers, when you ask them what’s going on, do they have any clue of when it’s coming back up, they know just as much as we do.”

The LSP’s investigation into the possible cyber attack is ongoing and any student who sees suspicious activity in any of their accounts is asked to report it as soon as possible.

The university says if you are a student concerned with your personal data being compromised, change all passwords, turn on multi-factor authentication, and request a free credit freeze from a credit reporting agency.

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