The hackers have stolen applicant data from Ohio's Oberlin College, Grinnell College based in Iowa and Hamilton College, New York, and are looking for money from students to retrieve their records.
The hackers recently targeted Oberlin University, Grinnell College and Hamilton College, stealing data for students applying for admission to their schools, according to Wall Street Journal reports. According to the report, hackers could mislead the university staff to provide passwords, which allowed them to check the databases that housed information from the applicant students.
The hackers were asking for one Bitcoin - about $ 3.800 right now - from students to retrieve their "import file", which includes teacher recommendations and comments from the import section, among other data.
According to the Journal, the introduction procedures at each selected college were made using the Slate platform by Technosolutions. After hackers got the passwords that allowed them to access college networks, they allegedly targeted the Slate software to get student details.
Alexander Clark, Managing Director of Technosolutions, told the Journal that the company is in touch with the three targeted universities. Clark said he asked schools to "review the security practices of single sign-on and password reset systems".
Colleges have told the Journal that they are investigating the incident and informing the students who have been affected.