Cal State Dominguez Hills: Stolen Laptop Contained Personal Information on Students

March 24, 2006

Contact: Russ Hudson (310) 243-2455/2001

Carson, CA— A laptop computer belonging to a California State University, Dominguez Hills professor was reported stolen from an office. The laptop reportedly had personal information on 2,486 students and potential students that the professor was in the process of updating. The laptop was completely separate from any university databases. The matter is being investigated by CSUDH police detectives.

There is no indication at this point that any of the personal information has been used or that the goal of the thief was anything more than taking a temporarily unattended laptop. However, according to protocol, each student whose personal information may have been on the laptop will be notified by mail, as required by California Code 1798.29. In addition, the university will provide limited logistical information to the students for them to pursue, if they choose.

Information security is of the highest priority at CSUDH, said Min Yao, associate vice president of Information Technology. Even before the theft of this laptop computer, the university had taken several measures to enhance the information security on its campus.

Access to the information on the campus servers and network was tightened. Workshops and training on information security were offered to all faculty and staff. Security patches for the Microsoft Windows operating system—the system used on computers that harbor secure information—and antivirus updates have been automatically applied to the computers in departments that deal with student and employee personal data. As part of the university’s proactive security measures, servers and key workstations are regularly scanned for security holes and any needed fixes are made immediately.

In addition, a presidential memorandum on information security is being drafted and will be distributed to all of the campus community to emphasize the importance of keeping personal information secure.

For additional assistance, students are asked to leave a message in the voice mail box at (310) 243-2305, or they can also fill out an inquiry form at

California State University, Dominguez Hills

University Communications & Public Affairs

Welch Hall, B-363

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