Friday, February 20, 2009

University of Florida Student & Employee Record Breach

Via Gainesville Sun -

A foreign hacker gained access to a University of Florida computer system containing the personal information of more than 97,200 students, faculty and staff, UF announced Thursday.

The files included the names and Social Security numbers of individuals who used UF's Grove computer system since 1996. A hacker in the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda accessed the system Dec. 22 and exploited a security hole, according to a UF police report.

An information technology staff member discovered the breach Jan. 14 during a review of computer systems. UF sent notification letters Tuesday to most individuals with information on the system, but was unable to find addresses for about 5,000 of them.

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said it's unknown whether the hacker accessed personal information.

"We know somebody got in a hallway, for example, but we don't know if they opened any doors with information in them," she said.

After the breach was discovered, UF shut down the Grove system. The system contained course information with Social Security numbers and at one time required users to verify their identities using Social Security numbers.

It took two weeks to investigate the breach and another two weeks to prepare notification letters and set up a call center, according to UF. The law requires that individuals whose information was breached be notified within 45 days.

Concerned individuals can call UF's Privacy Office hotline at 1-877-657-9133 or visit the office's Web site at


What exactly is a "foreign hacker"?

Lets just say it was a hacker...from somewhere.

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