Vt. College Mistakenly Posts Student Data

October 20, 2005

Associated Press


RANDOLPH CENTER, Vt. - Vermont Technical College mistakenly posted every student's Social Security number on the Internet for almost two years, college officials said.

The data, along with names, addresses, SAT scores and ethnicities, were removed last week, and there was no indication that the information was downloaded by identity thieves, officials said.

The 2003 information was publicly posted in January 2004 when the college's coordinator of tutoring services tried to direct it to a secure computer drive but inadvertently sent it to the public Web site instead, college President Allan Rodgers said.

The error was discovered last week by a former student who plugged his own name into the Google search engine.

"We have taken swift steps to secure the information and to remove the data from the Vermont Tech server and from other sources," Rodgers said in an Oct. 12 e-mail to students and alumni. All employees, including the one who made the posting error, will get more training on computer security, he said.

Colleges and universities, with their vast computer networks and wealth of sensitive data, present rich targets for hackers. The University of California, San Diego, and the University of Texas at Austin are among schools hit by identity thieves.

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