Hackers target state-run college savings accounts; Security tightened
BATON ROUGE – A state-backed college savings program tightened security measures amid a wave of cyber attacks on its accounts, WBRZ has learned.
START accounts were targeted but attackers never gained access to money parents have been saving for their children.
The START program allows for parents to save and pay for college tuition over the course of a child’s life and pay no taxes on the interest. The state matches deposits on a varying scale.
It’s unclear how much money is invested in the START program, although managers said money was never jeopardized.
“...No account holders have lost any money as a result of the hacks to date. This was caught early enough that additional security measures could be implemented and the proper authorities notified,” a spokesperson said.
The FBI, state technology services and the Louisiana Attorney General’s office have been notified of the hack attempts, WBRZ was told.
START officials said they identified twenty-one account owners who hackers had gained access to varying types of personal information associated with those accounts.
START, managed by the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance – LOSFA – did not elaborate on the attacks or how they were attempted.
Users may notice stricter security measures including a lock-out after too many attempts to log in with the wrong information and account information will not be available on some account pages once a user is logged in to the website.
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