Breach, Threat Management, Data Security, Incident Response, TDR

Two hard drives stolen from Washington State University office


Hundreds of employees, former employees and students of Washington State University are being notified that their personal information may have been compromised after two possibly unencrypted external hard drives were stolen from an on-campus office.

How many victims? About 310.

What type of personal information? The data on the hard drives has yet to be confirmed, but it is believed that employee information included Social Security numbers and student information included names and birthdays.

What happened? Two possibly unencrypted external hard drives were stolen from an office in the school of Biological Sciences in Abelson Hall.

What was the response? The theft was reported to law enforcement and an investigation is ongoing. The university is sending letters to all affected individuals.

Details: University officials were alerted of the theft on Oct. 11. The information was from 2005 to 2007. The school has encryption policies, but it was unclear whether it was activated at the time.

Quote: “We're looking at the computers they were connected to in order to see if they can give us an idea of what might have been on the drives,” Rob Strenge, assistant director of Washington State University News Services, said. “We don't know for sure at this point whether or not any Social Security numbers were actually compromised, but we're trying to be as thorough as possible just in case.”

Source:, “Hard drives missing after security breach,” Nov. 7, 2013

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