Computer security breach in urban affairs, agriculture

January 25, 2006

Two recent computer security breaches at the University of Delaware have resulted in the possible exposure of names and Social Security Numbers that were stored on the machines.

A computer in the University's School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy was hacked, and a back-up hard drive in the UD Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology was stolen.

The computer in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy was attacked sometime between Nov. 22-26 by an unknown hacker, and it contained a portion of a database that included Social Security numbers for 159 graduate students. "Since the incident, those affected have been notified, the file has been removed from the computer, and we have taken steps to properly secure the system," Jeff Raffel, director of the school, said.

A back-up hard drive was stolen from the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology some time between Dec. 16-18, and a police report was filed Dec. 19. A valuable microscope worth nearly $6,000 and belonging to Judith Hough-Goldstein, professor of entomology, also was stolen, and it is believed the theft of the hard drive was an afterthought. The hard drive contained personal information on a few individuals, and Jack B. Gingrich, a postdoctoral fellow in the department whose hard drive was stolen, has informed all those involved.

The University's policy is to notify all individuals if their personal information may have been compromised following such incidents, and in both cases, letters have been sent to everyone whose personal information may have been compromised. The letters informed them of the breach and shared information on how to combat identity theft. It is unknown whether any personal information was actually acquired in either case.

Individuals with concerns about identity theft may visit a special web site prepared by Information Technologies at [].

[an error occurred while processing this directive]