UNC security breach exposed personal information of thousands

From staff reportsDecember 13, 2013 

— A security breach at the UNC-Chapel Hill may have exposed 6,000 people’s personal information. Electronic files containing names, Social Security numbers, tax identification numbers and, in some cases, addresses and birthdays became accessible on the Internet, according to the university.

A school administrator first discovered the breach on Nov. 11; it remains unclear whether any unauthorized person accessed the personal information, according to the university. The school has sent a letter to those affected.

The incident apparently stemmed from maintenance work on one computer over the summer, which accidentally disabled the safeguards that keep files private, the school said in a news release. Sometime afterward, Google automatically copied the files and made them publicly accessible, according to the university. The search company took the files down on Nov. 23.

The university’s letter to people affected by the breach included recommendations about ways to protect themselves against identity theft. Further information is available at http://its.unc.edu/incident.

The public also can call the university toll-free at 1-866-458-3184 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays until Feb. 10, 2014. Service is available in English and Spanish. Translation to Burmese or Karen is available at 919-962-9060.

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