A recent theft at Washington State University is redefine the definition of a brute force breach after someone made off with a 85-pound safe containing a hard drive holding the data of a million people.
The hard drive contained personal information including names, social security numbers, and the health histories of some, according to KUOW 94.9.
The stolen information was part of research the university had conducted for outside agencies, including school districts and government offices in Washington and Idaho and a university researcher noticed the breach in April.
“This was not a quick smash and grab, this was somebody who had to make quite a bit of effort to steal the safe, and then if they’re ever able to get inside it’s going to take a lot of work for them to do that as well,” WSU’s Vice President of Communications Phil Weiler told the publication. “At this point we have no reason to believe the data has been compromised, but we can’t know that for sure.”
The university has sent letters to those affected and is offering a hotline where people can find out if their name was on the drive.