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Colleges Take Steps To Keep Student Information Safe

Updated: Wednesday, July 23 2014, 10:46 PM CDT
SPRINGFIELD -- Utility companies and colleges could be a hackers dream. They have nearly all our information from addresses to even social security numbers, But with cyber attacks on the rise Some of that information is being handled in a different way.

Lincoln Land Community College is home to more than 7,500 students. Some of their personal information is also at the finger tips of computer users.     

"We have to keep up with security constantly, every single day there are new ways that hackers can get to the data," said Chief Information Officer, Esteban Cruz.

While Lincoln Land collects data such as full names and addresses, there is one thing they won't keep.

"We process the credit card information, but we don't store any numbers in our system so incase of a data breach nothing will be found as far as financial information," said Cruz.

Even with that important information off-site, hackers still remain a threat.

"We have monitoring systems for our networks so when there is unusual activity we take a closer look and if necessary we shut some things down," said Cruz.

But going dark to prevent hackers access is becoming more common.

"Every year the whole industry changes," said Cruz.

"People are more knowledgeable about tools and tricks," said Clayton Bellot, a Security Analyst at University of Illinois - Springfield.

Like at Lincoln Land, student's financial information at UIS is held at an off-site location. With more than 1,200 staff members using computers everyday, hackers are still out there trying to get in.

"Multiple times in different vectors. Whether it's email or people downloading malicious software," said Bellot.

Both UIS and Lincoln Land Community College say hackers have never been able to get information from their servers.

We also checked with local utility company CWLP and they also use the same off-site system for credit card information.

Experts say taking the information off the network is one less potential threat.Colleges Take Steps To Keep Student Information Safe

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