UNC Chapel Hill data breach affects more than 6,000

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More than 6,000 current and former employees, vendors and students of The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill are being notified that their personal information may have been compromised in a data breach.

How many victims? More than 6,000. 

What type of personal information? Names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and tax identification numbers are among the compromised data.

What happened? An information technology manager in the Division of Finance and Administration discovered that some Division of Facilities Services files containing the personal data were inadvertently posted publicly on the internet.

What was the response? The University denied internet access to the files and conducted an in-depth forensic investigation. A consultant was hired to identify affected individuals. The files were removed from Google, where copies were being hosted. Affected individuals began receiving notification letters on Dec. 10. The University is taking steps to improve information security, including formalizing the process for identifying and safeguarding sensitive data.

Details: The University believes that safeguards preventing the files from becoming publicly accessible were inadvertently disabled on a computer during maintenance on July 30. University officials learned of the incident on Nov. 11 and believe the information was publicly available between July 30 and Nov. 23. It is not believed that another party copied the files and criminal conduct is not suspected at this time. An investigation is ongoing.

Quote: “Please be assured that we continue to evaluate our computer and administrative systems and to implement appropriate measures to protect the sensitive information in our possession,” Kevin Seitz, interim vice chancellor for finance and administration, said.

Source: its.unc.edu, “University investigates data breach, notifies affected people,” December, 2013

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