A USB drive containing the personal information of thousands of Roane State Community College (RSCC) students and employees was recently stolen.

How many victims? 15,977.

What type of personal information? Names and Social Security numbers.

What happened? A school employee copied the information to a 4GB USB drive and brought it home for the weekend on Oct. 9 to do work after hours. The drive was stolen from the employee's unlocked car and school officials were notified the following Monday, Oct. 12.

The employee acted against RSCC policy by copying school data and taking it off property but has not been reprimanded.

Details: The names and Social Security numbers of 9,747 current and former students and 1,194 current and former employees were contained on the stolen USB drive. In addition, there were 5,036 additional Social Security numbers alone, with no names, on the device.

There were no academic records on the device.

Quote: "We deeply regret the inconvenience this has caused our students and our employees," Danny Gibbs, vice president for business and finance at RSCC said in a statement. "When something like this happens, you step back and take a look at everything you're doing and see if there's any way you can improve and strengthen."

What was the response? Affected individuals have been notified and offered one year free credit monitoring. Also, the school has established a phone line and website to provide information about the breach.

In addition, the breach is being investigated by the local sheriff's office and an internal review of school policies and procedures will take place.

Source: WBIR.com, “Update: Roane State announces 11,000 employee and student Social Security numbers stolen from employee's car,” Oct. 21, 2009.