Library service software glitch creates student data breach at 6 Fla. colleges

Aug 11, 2010 By Scott Travis, Sun Sentinel

Confidential information for about 126,000 students and employees at six community colleges in Florida were publicly available on the Internet for five days, a state library service center announced Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the College Center for Library Automation wouldn't identify the specific information exposed, other than to say it was protected by a Florida statute and did not include financial information or library records. That means the information may include student names, Social Security numbers and drivers' license or Florida information card numbers, which are also protected under state law.

The information was available from May 29 to June 2, and officials from the library agency said they believe unauthorized people viewed it. But there is no evidence the data has been misused, said spokeswoman Lauren Sproull.

Still, the agency is sending letters to those affected, recommending they place a fraud alert on their credit files to minimize the risk of identity theft.

About 24,000 students at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., may be affected, spokeswoman Rivka Spiro said. She said the students exposed were ones enrolled in summer term. No Broward College employees were affected, Spiro said.

Employees and students were affected at Florida State College at Jacksonville, Northwest Florida State College, Pensacola State College, South Florida Community College and Tallahassee Community College.

The library agency, which provides automated services and electronic resources to Florida's public colleges, determined the breach happened as a result of a software upgrade. Sproull wouldn't say which software caused the problem. The six colleges were affected because their borrower records were contained in temporary work files that were being processed at the time of exposure, officials said.

The Tallahassee-based library agency learned of the breach June 23, after a student reported finding personal information through a Google search. The agency has been investigating since then. The case has also been turned over to the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

"We pride ourselves on protecting private information and deeply regret this inadvertent exposure. I apologize to those involved for any worry or inconvenience this may cause them," said Richard Madaus, CEO of the Center for Library Automation. "As evidenced by our quick response to this incident, CCLA takes the security of personal data very seriously. We will continue to enhance our technology to safeguard all of the information entrusted to us."

Explore further: Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Breaches emphasize need for scanning, encryption

Mar 17, 2009

Recent news reports indicate a computer containing confidential information about the helicopter that transports President Barack Obama was breached by a computer in Iran. In January, Heartland Payment Systems, a company ...

Hackers breach UC Berkeley computer database

May 08, 2009

(AP) -- University of California, Berkeley, officials said Friday that hackers infiltrated restricted computer databases, putting at risk health and other personal information on 160,000 students, alumni and others.

Malware continues to be a challenge to computer security

Feb 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Identity theft continues to be a serious problem nationwide, and according to the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center, (ITRC) the economic recession may be a cause in the rise in scams, thievery and ...

Recommended for you

Twitter rules out Turkey office amid tax row

10 hours ago

Social networking company Twitter on Wednesday rejected demands from the Turkish government to open an office there, following accusations of tax evasion and a two-week ban on the service.

How does false information spread online?

13 hours ago

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering a wide range of issues including social media. Members come ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exasperated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.