Purdue University warns of possible computer security breach

September 10, 2007

By The Purdue News Service


Purdue University is warning 111 people who were students in the fall of 2004 that information about them was inadvertently posted on the Internet.

The information was in a document that contained the names and Social Security numbers of students in the Animal Sciences 102 class. The page was no longer in use but was on a computer server connected to the Internet. The document was found recently through an internal search and reported to the chief information security officer at Purdue.

Purdue has removed page from the Internet and mailed letters to those who may have been affected.

"We do not know that anyone has used this information illegally, but because the possibility exists, we are trying to inform every person whose information was in the file," said Alan Grant, professor and head of the Department of Animal Sciences.

Because that class is typically taken by freshmen, many of the students affected are still attending Purdue, he said.

Anyone who does not receive a letter but believes he or she was in the class can call Purdue toll-free at (866) 275-1181 to inquire about the breach. More information can also be found online at www.purdue.edu/news/coa0709.html. The site contains links to the Federal Trade Commission, where a complaint about fraud or identity theft can be filed, as well as links to apply for a credit report.

Under university policy, Social Security numbers are no longer used except where required by law. Instead, all students, alumni, faculty and staff, and others whose records are kept for business reasons are given a Purdue identification number.

Beyond that, Purdue is also attempting to improve the security of its computers through a initiative called SecurePurdue.

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