- Associated Press - Monday, August 24, 2015

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) - Rutgers University has hired three cybersecurity firms to protect its computer networks after they were hacked at least four times during the past school year.

The firms - FishNet Security, Level 3 Communications and Imperva - will be tasked with testing the university’s network for vulnerabilities and other work that officials say they can’t discuss for security reasons, NJ.com reported (http://bit.ly/1MI6dsX). FishNet was hired before the attacks.

New Jersey’s flagship state university is expected to spend between $2 million and $3 million on cybersecurity this year, university officials said. The money is a new expense that the university has cited as one of the reasons why it raised tuition and fees 2.3 percent for the 2015-16 school year.

The cybersecurity expenses likely will become a permanent part of Rutgers’ $3 billion budget as the university looks to protect student Social Security numbers, sensitive research data and other information on its sprawling 65,000-student computer network.

Administrators said the university was an easy target last spring when cyberattacks crippled its websites and Internet access.

“We were not well protected,” said Bruce Fehn, Rutgers’ senior vice present for administration. “We feel we are in a better position than we were before.”

Officials still don’t know the identity of the hacker or hackers.

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This story has been corrected to remove references to hiring after the attacks. One firm was hired before the attacks.

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Information from: NJ.com, http://www.nj.com

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