The University of South Carolina sent letters this past week to 6,300 students whose personal information, including Social Security numbers, could have been stored on a faculty laptop stolen from campus, according to a local news brief.
USC officials said the laptop, used to generate and grade tests, was stolen from a locked room at the Department of Physics and Astronomy in April. The password protected laptop included full names and Social Security Numbers of students who enrolled in courses from 2010 through 2013.
The university sent letters to all of those students notifying them of the security breach and advising them to put fraud alerts on their credit reports, and get a free copy of their credit reports. USC is also providing them with a free year of credit fraud protection. There has been no evidence that any personal information has been accessed, or misused.
The breach was the university’s seventh in seven years. USC also had a security breach last August. A hacker, reportedly from a foreign county, was able to hack into a server at the College of Education and stole the personal information of 34,000 people. More than 87,000 records of USC students and employees have been exposed since 2006.
The university is in the process of improving its computer systems and security to prevent future problems.
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