System vulnerability at US university may have exposed student data

Western Connecticut State University does not believe the records of 233,880 people were inappropriately accessed
  • Jeremy Kirk (IDG News Service)
  • — 30 November, 2012 04:34

Western Connecticut State University said Thursday that a vulnerability in its computer system present for more than three years may have exposed the data of 233,880 students and other people affiliated with the institution.

The vulnerability has now been fixed, and it is not believed that the system was inappropriately accessed, the university said. The data exposed included names, addresses, Social Security numbers and financial account information supplied by prospective students when applying to the university as well as lists of SAT scores bought by the school. The university said buying test scores is a common practice in higher education.

"Since discovery of the exposure, the university has dramatically increased its information protection capacity with new layers of protection," the school said. "The university will continue to assess and improve all aspects of its information security."

The information exposed dated back to 1999. The vulnerability was present in the system between April 2009 through September this year. The university did not describe the vulnerability in its news release.

WCSU is offering two years of credit monitoring to those affected from the company AllClear ID.  It has also set up a web-based form where people can enter their last name and the last four digits of their Social Security number to see if their data was exposed.

The university notified the office of the Attorney General Connecticut of the problem.  

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Tags: intrusion, security, Western Connecticut State University, Identity fraud / theft

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