UNC Chapel Hill computer server hacked

[Note: This blog has was updated on Monday, Oct. 5, 2009 to reflect new findings regarding the breach.]

A hacker broke into a UNC Chapel Hill computer server on which the personal information for approximately 160,000 women was stored as part of a research project.

How many victims? 160,000 total records, including 114,000 Social Security numbers.

What type of personal information? Unspecified, but the data was part of the Carolina Mammography Registry, a longstanding UNC research project to compile and analyze mammography data across North Carolina.

What happened? The intrusion was detected in late July, but computer forensics experts say it could have have occurred two years ago, Matthew Mauro, chairman of the UNC Department of Radiology told the Charlotte Observer.

Details: Investigators found viruses on the server dating to 2007, Mauro said.

Quote: "There's no direct evidence that any information has been removed," Mauro said. "But we can't say for sure."

Source:, “Hacker breaks into research study data,” Sept. 25, 2009.

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