Jan 212008
Authors: Aaron Hedge

Four computer files containing more than 100 Social Security numbers of former students were accessible on a college Web site until November, university officials confirmed Friday.

The files were there since an unclear time between 2000 and 2004, said a researcher from the Liberty Coalition, the group that discovered the files and alerted CSU officials.

Aaron Titus, a researcher with the Liberty Coalition accessed the files on the Warner College of Natural Resources (WCNS) Web site and notified CSU Nov. 19. When informed of the problem, Academic Computer and Networking Services (ACNS) promptly deleted the files from the site, CSU officials said.

CSU immediately contacted most of the students who were affected by the breach, and none of them reported identity theft, said university spokesperson Dell Rae Moellenberg. But the university was not able to contact one international student, she said.

Social Security numbers were used as student identification numbers at the time the files were created for the purpose of recording the students’ grades, WCNS professors said Friday.

CSU came into compliance with a state mandate that requires universities to issue alternative identification numbers — CSUIDs — in fall 2006.

The university conducts Social Security Number purges on all university Web sites regularly and has systems in place to ensure student privacy, Moellenberg said. Those systems have been under review since the university became aware of the breach.

Information Technology professionals with ACNS said the files were mistakenly placed on the WCNS Web site when the college restructured the site.

The files also contained other sensitive information, including college usernames and passwords.

News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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