Breach, Data Security

Penn State College of Medicine breach risks alumni Social Security numbers

More than 1,000 Penn State College of Medicine alumni's Social Security numbers might have been compromised after malware was found on a university computer.

How many victims? Up to 1,176 alumni.

What type of personal information? Social Security numbers.

What happened? A computer in the Penn State College of Medicine was infected with malware that allowed it to communicate with an unauthorized computer in an outside network.

What was the response? The computer was taken offline and those who might have been impacted are being informed through letters. The university is also investigating the malware and will wipe the compromised computer.

Details: Penn State used students' Social Security numbers as their student identification numbers up until 2005, and the breached computer contained an archive dating up until that point.

Quote: "We have no reason to believe that this information was accessed by unauthorized individuals, but those affected should be alert in the event that an individual attempts to use their identity," said Holly Swires, privacy officer for the university.

Source:, “Malware opens door to possible information exposure,” July 10, 2014.

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