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Loyola Discards Hard Drive with 5,800 Student SSNs

A Loyola University Chicago computer containing the Social Security numbers of 5,800 students was discarded before its hard drive was erased, according to a letter from the school's chief information officer, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

"Although we have no evidence that any of this personal information has [been] or will be accessed, we want you to take every possible step to safeguard your privacy," Susan M. Malisch, the CIO of the Chicago-based school said in a letter to students.

The university offered all affected students free credit monitoring for a year as a precaution

The desktop computer was an older machine that was used previously by the university's Information Technology Services department. In addition to the Social Security numbers, it contained some loan information about some students, according to Malisch's letter.

The computer was reported missing July 10. An investigation by campus police concluded it had been "incorrectly and improperly discarded. The hard drive was not erased, which is not in accordance with Loyola's standard practices," Malisch wrote.

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Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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