Though security breaches are more common within the healthcare and financial industries, a recent data breach at the University of Central Florida (UCF) shows that no one is safe from hackers. On February 4, 2016, UCF revealed the discovery of an intrusion into its personal computer network that compromised the personal information of current and former students, faculty, and staff. To date, it is believed that approximately 63,000 individuals have been affected.
In a letter announcing the breach, UCF President John C. Hitt said the incident was discovered in January and reported to law enforcement officials. The university began an internal investigation, seeking help from a national digital forensics firm. The investigation revealed that though some key information — like financial/credit card info, grades, and medical records — was not stolen, it looks like the criminals did gain access to Social Security numbers. Unfortunately, Social Security numbers are a hot commodity among identity thieves because with those numbers, they are able to easily gain access to a wealth of other personal information.
UCF said that two main groups of individuals were affected by this data breach. They are:
- Group 1: Some current student-athletes, as well as some former student-athletes who last played for UCF in 2014-2015. Other individuals in this group include some student staff members that support UCF teams.
What was stolen? First and last names, Social Security numbers, student ID numbers, sport, whether they were walk-ons or recruited, and the number of credit hours taken or in-progress.
- Group 2: Current and former university employees in a category known as Other Personal Services (OPS). Those not sure of their employment category are encouraged to check with their supervisor or HR representative.
What was stolen? First and last names, Social Security numbers, and UCF-issued Employee Identification Numbers.
UCF will be sending out letters the week of February 8, 2016 to those who may have been affected by the breach. They will be offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity protection services to those impacted and have set up a call center for anyone with questions. The call center’s number is 877-752-5527 and it is open Monday-Friday from 9am until 9pm.
In an effort to prevent a breach like this from happening again, UCF said they are working to enhance user account and password security, as well as expanding campus-wide information security and training.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Breezy Baldwin.