Social engineering attack on the North Dakota University System

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – A lot of financial transfers are made online and this can leave humans and organizations susceptible to phishing schemes.

The North Dakota University System was attacked by a social engineering scheme last month and it had the potential to cost NDSU and BSC $5.1 million.

Social engineering is when someone is tricked into releasing information to be used for fraudulent purposes. Fortunately, this transaction was caught and stopped before it was processed.

“No money’s been lost, no taxpayer money, no student money’s been lost. This is the world we live in, and that’s, it’s called human hacking, or social engineering,” said Mark R. Hagerott, chancellor for the North Dakota University System.

The university system has training in place to catch these schemes, but a campus employee made an error.

“All of us should be alert that there are attempts made for you to give out your checking account numbers, your credit card numbers. So they do the same thing to the employees of the university system, which is a literally multibillion-dollar system, billions of dollars and infrastructure,” said Hagerott.

He says now the state board will be reviewing the incident. They will also look at the training protocol for employees within the State University System, and see what changes need to be made.

Roughly $3.8 million could have been taken from NDSU and $1.3 million could have been taken from BSC.

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