LANSING, MI – Two Michigan universities have become the target of online hacks and scams this week and the TV manufacturer, Vizio, has agreed to a settlement for tracking consumers’ viewing habits.
There were several racist and anti-semitic emails sent out to students within the College of Engineering at The University of Michigan late Tuesday night. The content of the emails was condemned by the university in general and by President Mark Schlissel specifically.
Some emails appear to come from Engineering Professor J. Alex Halderman. In response he said, “These messages were spoofed. Matt and I did not send them, and we don’t know who did. As I teach in my computer security classes, it takes very little technical sophistication to forge the sender’s address in an email.”
The matter is being investigated.
At Central Michigan University, there was a scam going around that duped students and faculty into giving away their personal information to scammers.
About 40 students and faculty members were hit. When CMU police officers were notified about the intrusion, they immediately told those who were affected.
So far there have been no reports of personal or financial losses from the scam. The CMU Police are working with the Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit to find the culprits.
Lastly, New Jersey officials say the TV manufacturer Vizio will pay a 2.5 million dollar settlement for allegations that they tracked consumers viewing habits and sold the information to marketing companies and data brokers.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Vizio installed software on 11 million consumer TVs to collect viewing data “without consumers’ knowledge or consent.”
A privacy project director with Consumer Watchdog said “It wasn’t just your viewing habits,” “They were combining all of this with all sorts of other info about you – household income, sex, marital status – a really invasive picture was being put together.”