University Issues Notice on Employee Data Exposed to Web Program

May 26, 2006

Don Hansen

TURLOCK – (May 26, 2006) – California State University, Stanislaus has issued a notice that sensitive data on one of its file servers was indexed by the web information service Google.

The University was informed earlier this month that a file remained in the Google cache that could have been accessed by those with the technology expertise to do so. The initial data exposure to Google occurred in October 2005 when a file with the information was indexed to the web. The file was deleted from the server at that time and Google deleted it from its files. However, even though the information was no longer available through Google searches, it was discovered that a file still remained in the Google files cache.

The file exposed to the Google indexing process included the name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth of some current and former employees, and some of their dependents. In a May 23 letter, the University notified the 1,294 people whose data was affected.

University officials are informing all the affected individuals that CSU Stanislaus has contracted with the credit-reporting agency Equifax so that each of them can sign up for one year of free credit monitoring. This service will monitor all three major credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. CSU Stanislaus will cover the cost of the one-year credit-monitoring service.

On a related note, CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani on Wednesday announced the appointment of Carl Whitman as the University’s new Associate Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer. He is currently Executive Director of the Office of Information Technology at The American University in Washington, D.C. Shirvani said he will direct Whitman to immediately assess the University’s entire information system infrastructure and implement the necessary safeguards and staff training to avoid such occurrences in the future.

Those with questions or concerns can contact Business and Finance at CSU Stanislaus at (209) 667-3077.

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