Penn State, along with at least 26 other universities, was targeted by Chinese hackers in an attempt to steal research related to maritime technology in the military, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
It is unclear whether Penn State has been compromised. The Journal reported the hackers specifically targeted Penn State's applied research laboratory, which receives funding from the United States Department of Defense.
In a statement provided by Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers, the university neither confirmed nor denied a security breach, but said it was "very aware of the persistent threat" of cyberattacks from state and non-state actors.
Here at Penn State, cybercriminals have reportedly been posing as faculty or staff trying to get students to provide information.
"Penn State works closely with the government to protect our networks against this dynamic and sophisticated threat," the statement reads. "Any contract with the government and certain partners requires a specific framework for data use and a particular set of prescribed technical and organizational controls be in place."
According to the statement, if Penn State ever encounters a security breach, it will immediately notify the government and its partners so the breach may be investigated by the federal government.
The Journal reported that the attacks came about through phishing emails containing malicious software. The emails appeared to be legitimate and sent by a university, according to iDefense Security Intelligence Services.
When Angela Lin checked her email on Nov. 13, she found a message allegedly sent by the Depa…
The cyber attacks targeted universities across the globe, according to iDefense. The Journal reported that most of the universities targeted either have facilities dedicated to researching maritime technology or employ faculty members who are knowledgeable on the subject.
The attacks date back to at least April 2017. The hacking group responsible for the attacks is known as either Temp.Periscope, Leviathan or Mudcarp.