Personal information compromised on Dixie State computer system

October 23, 2007

The Spectrum

An unauthorized person reportedly gained access to Dixie State College's computer system and gained access to confidential files, including Social Security numbers, birth date information and addresses for some alumni and current DSC employees.

The college's Information Technology staff became aware of the incident, which took place Sept. 11. No credit card or financial data was compromised.

Once DSC officials became aware of the incident, the compromised files, which contained approximately 11,000 names of those who graduated or worked at DSC from 1986 to 2005, were immediately deleted from the server. In addition, law enforcement officials, the Utah State Attorney General's Office and the Utah Higher Education Commissioner's office were notified.

The files were accessible through an internal DSC search engine for a period of up to 14 months, though it appears those files were not accessible to public search engines such as Google or Yahoo!.

"At this time, there is no evidence that the information has been misused," said Gary Koeven, DSC dean of information services. "However we take this risk very seriously and are taking steps to notify those individuals listed in the files as well as our entire campus community. The situation will continue to be monitored."

DSC officials have confirmed that the files were accessed, though it is inconclusive as to whether any sensitive information was actually accessed and/or acquired. Koeven added that efforts are being made to notify those affected.

Koeven also noted that a thorough information technology audit is currently under way and that all security and IT processes are being reviewed and will continue to be strengthened.

"We regret that this incident has occurred, and we want to let everyone in the Dixie State College community know that we take this matter and all security issues very seriously," DSC President Dr. Lee Caldwell said. "We know and understand the danger of identity theft and we are committed to ensuring that this does not happen again at this institution."

Those potentially affected are urged to take precautionary measures by monitoring their bank and credit card statements. In addition, individuals are encouraged to request a free copy of their credit report and review it thoroughly and, if necessary, place a fraud alert on their credit.

To further assist, update and provide as much information as possible, Dixie State College has created a Web site dedicated to this issue at DSC has also established a toll-free telephone hotline accessible at 1-866-295-3033.

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