University increases students risk of Identity Theft

Sensei Post in Identity Theft

Montclair, NJ, USA
A mistake made by a Montclair State University (MSU) employee has put more than 75 percent of the university’s undergraduates at risk for identity theft. For the past five months, the Social Security numbers of 9,100 MSU undergraduates were searchable by Internet search engines. The university was advised of the problem on October 7 when a student, who found his personal information online after an Internet search, contacted MSU’s Information Technology Department. According to Ann Frechette, MSU’s executive director of communications and marketing, a university employee accidentally stored the Social Security numbers and declared majors of the students on MSU’s Web server. The employee, Frechette said, believed the files were secure, or nonsearchable, because they were not linked onto the university’s Website. “But in fact, anything stored on the Web server is searchable by Web engines,” Frechette said. Working with the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office, the university was able to remove all files from Internet caches by October 12, five days after the university was notified about the problem. MSU is located in Montclair, NJ.
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