Computer records on 197,000 people breached at UT

April 23, 2006

By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz, American-Statesman Staff

Computerized records on nearly 200,000 people with ties to the University of Texas' McCombs School of Business have been accessed without authorization by someone operating from the Far East, the university's president announced today.

The records, which in some cases include Social Security numbers, involve faculty members, current and prospective students, staff members, alumni and corporate recruiters, UT President William Powers Jr. said at a hastily called news conference this afternoon. He said records on 197,000 people were accessed by one or more people in Asia.

Powers and other university officials urged anyone with a connection to the business school to take steps to guard against identity theft. Steps on how to do so, including posting a fraud alert with credit agencies, are outlined on a Web site set up by the university. The site is accessible through the university's home page,

Powers said the university takes responsibility for the breach, which is similar to one that occurred in 2003. In addition to posting advice on its Web site, UT will have a phone bank operational by 8 a.m. Monday, he said. Callers can dial 475-9020 in Austin and (866) 657-9400 toll-free.

"We're doing everything we can to protect people whose data may have been exposed," Powers said.

The breach was discovered late Friday, and the investigation indicates that it began as early as April 11, Powers said.

The state attorney general's office is investigating, he said.

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