Breach, Data Security

350,000 SSNs exposed in UNC-Charlotte breach

The Social Security numbers and financial account information of students and staff at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC-Charlotte) was exposed during an online security breach.

How many victims? 350,000

What type of personal information? Full names, Social Security numbers, addresses, and financial account information.

What happened? Incorrect access settings and a system misconfiguration caused a large amount of personal data hosted by the university to leak onto the internet.

What was the response? School officials alerted students and staff, and created a website to provide additional information. UNC-Charlotte has enhanced its internal review procedures to monitor for suspicious activity.

Details: The breach was first discovered by university officials in January, but the college informed students and staff in mid-February. The leak was caused by two exposure issues, one affecting the general university systems over a period of three months, and another that impacted the school's College of Engineering systems for more than a decade.

Quote: “It makes me feel unsafe to think my information could be out there and that somebody could take my credit and do what they want to with my Social Security [number],” said Jennifer Affinito, a student at UNC-Charlotte.

Source:, Channel 3 WBTV, “UNC Charlotte: 350,000 Social Security numbers exposed during Internet breach,” May 9, 2012.

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