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October 16th, 2010

University Of North Florida Server Breached, Private 100,000 Students Application Data Compromised

The personal information of over 100,000 students, who applied for University of North Florida (UNF) was exposed after intruders obtained unauthorized access to a computer server containing confidential data.

The breach occurred between September 24 and September 29 and according to a description of the incident posted on the university’s website, the attack was launched from abroad.

The investigation is conducted by the University Police Department together with the FBI. The intruders’ intent has not been established yet, but it is possible that they wanted to use the compromised server and its resources for other illegal activities.

The student personal information was contained in a file, which was accessed without authorization, but it’s not certain that hackers plan to misuse the data.

Nevertheless, the university is sending out notification letters and emails to the 106,884 individuals possibly affected by the breach.

Of those, 52,853 people had both their name and Social Security number compromised, while the name and birth date of 54,031 were exposed.

“UNF collects a variety of information as part of the recruitment and application process. This information is used by the University to communicate with prospective students, to determine eligibility for admission, and to award financial aid. […] “In some cases, the intruder may have had access to ACT and/or SAT test scores because those scores are used in the recruitment process. UNF grades, financial aid history and course history are not at risk,” the university says.

Affected individuals are advised to contact one of the national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian or TransUnion, and place a free fraud alert on their credit files. These organizations can also provide one free credit report per year.

Unfortunately, data breaches involving university or college computers are relatively common and these institutions usually deal with significant amounts of sensitive personal data.

Credit: News

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  • Three Computers With Personal Data Compromised At The University of Colorado

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