Hundreds of U of Delaware Chemistry Students at Risk of ID TheftFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 3, 2007
Media Contact: Aaron Titus
NEWARK, Delaware. On November 15, 2007 the Liberty Coalition discovered 20 separate files containing sensitive personal information for roughly 582 University of Delaware Chemistry students who participated in the Chemistry mentoring program between 2000 and 2004. This information included full names, dates of birth, roughly 482 social security numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, home addresses, and a range of other personal information of current or former University of Delaware students. Students affected by this breach may be at extreme risk of identity theft. The files were available to the public on a University of Delaware website.
According to the server, the files had been posted online for as long as seven years. Officials have indicated that the University of Delaware switched away from using Social Security Numbers as identifiers several years ago, and that they did a text-search for social security numbers on their servers at that time. Unfortunately, their internal search engine failed to scan non-plain text files such as MS Excel files.
All of the files are posted in an online folder belonging to Professor Harold White of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who was shocked to find that they were there. As is often the case, the files were posted on an online file server that requires a password to upload files, but which is available to the public without a password.
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.