Colorado State University Exposes 300 Students' Personal Info OnlineFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 18, 2008
Media Contact: Aaron Titus
FORT COLLINS, Colorado. On November 15, 2007, the Liberty Coalition discovered four files containing sensitive personal student information for 300 Colorado State University students on the Warner College of Natural Resources website. The files include 208 social security numbers, usernames, passwords (derived from the social security number), and other information. The affected individuals all appear to be former College of Natural Resources students.
The files were created between 2000 and 2004, and according to meta properties contained in the Excel file, they were last saved by "Ingrid Burke" or "Craig Spooner." One of the files seems to have originated with "Mark Gathany" of Ohio University. Students affected by this breach may be at extreme risk of identity theft.
University officials immediately responded, taking down the file and working to get search engine caches cleared. Scott Baily, Associate Director of Academic Computing & Networking Services explained,
"Colorado State University takes personal privacy very seriously, and has policies against maintaining unencrypted files containing sensitive information. Indeed, last year we undertook a campus-wide SSN purge activity, where University-owned computers were scanned in an attempt to remove all files containing sensitive information.... I have contacted Yahoo, the only search engine that we can confirm had these files in their cache.... A total of 114 unique SSNs are involved. CSU has initiated a course of action to notify the affected parties to the extent possible."
Individuals affected by this exposure should immediately visit www.nationalidwatch.org and search for their names, to confirm what types of personal information were exposed. NationalIDWatch.org has a list of recommended steps victims should take.
National ID Watch is a search engine for personal information breaches. Sponsored by the Washington, DC non-profit Liberty Coalition, NationalIDWatch.org provides more than a million free personalized Identity Exposure Reports™ as a public service.
Each Identity Exposure Report (IXR) documents what types of personal information were exposed (such as Social Security Numbers, Birth Dates, Addresses, etc.), without revealing them. Each IXR also details the situation surrounding each exposure, and contact information of those responsible for the breach. Armed with this information, victims can further investigate, take action, or correct harm.