Data Security | News

UMD Breach Exposes 309,000 Records

A data breach at the University of Maryland has exposed records from students, staff, faculty and others dating back to 1998.

A total of 309,079 records from the College Park and Shady Grove campuses were reportedly exposed in the breach. The records, housed in a system maintained by the university's IT division, contained Social Security numbers, student ID numbers, names and dates of birth. They did not include contact information or any academic, financial or health information, according to UMD.

According to the university, the IT department had recently strengthened its security capabilities with additional staff and software tools.

"Universities are a focus in today's global assaults on IT systems," according to UMD President Wallace D. Loh. We recently doubled the number of our IT security engineers and analysts. We also doubled our investment in top-end security tools. Obviously, we need to do more and better, and we will."

Loh said the university formed an investigative task force within 24 hours of the incident, which occurred Tuesday.

"With the assistance of experts, we are handling this matter with an abundance of caution and diligence," Loh wrote in a letter to the UMD community. "Appropriate state and federal law enforcement authorities are currently investigating this criminal incident. Computer forensic investigators are examining the breached files and logs to determine how our sophisticated, multi-layered security defenses were bypassed. Further, we are initiating steps to ensure there is no repeat of this breach."

UMD is offering a year of free credit monitoring to those who were affected.

Further details can be found on UMD's data security support page.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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