An external hard drive containing the the sensitive data of 38,000 current and former students, faculty and staff of Georgetown University in Washington.

What type of personal information? Social Security numbers and billing information for various student services, such as student health insurance.

What happened? The external hard drive was stolen sometime after Dec. 21 from the fifth floor of a locked office at the Leavey Center building.

Who are the victims? Undergraduate students enrolled from 1998 through the middle of 2006, including 7,700 current students and 25,000 alumni. In addition, the hard drive was believed to contain former students who are now employed at the school.

Details: The device was not encrypted, and school officials are not sure if it was password protected. There have been no reports of identity fraud associated with the theft. Police have no suspects.

What was the response? The university plans to notify victims and institute a toll-free information hot line.

Quote:"The system contained an enormous amount of detailed information, all of which had to be reviewed in an attempt to determine what kind of information might have been on there." - David Lambert, vice president and chief information officer for University Information Services.

Source:, The Hoya, "38,000 Social Security numbers potentially exposed after theft," Jan. 29.