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ECU Mistakenly Posts Personal Info Online

Posted February 9, 2007

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— East Carolina University plans to notify about 65,000 students, alumni and staff members about a security breach that could put them at risk for identity theft.

A programming error on the school's OnePass Web site created files that made it possible for anyone to view personal information of thousands of students, former students and faculty members. The information included names, addresses, Social Security numbers and, in some cases, credit card numbers.

"We have no evidence of any mass downloads of information or direct evidence to indicate that personal information has been inappropriately obtained or used," said Kevin Seitz, ECU's vice chancellor for administration and finance.

The university is in the process of eliminating Social Security numbers as student identifiers in its computer systems. Ironically, a mistake during that transition led to the posting of the personal information online, officials said.

A student discovered the problem on Jan. 29 and reported it to police, Seitz said, adding that the information was likely online for no more than a week. University officials secured the site within 15 minutes of being notified of the problem, he said.

Although officials aren't sure how many people looked at the files during that time, Seitz said credit card numbers of 21 people were viewed.

"It scares me. Identity theft is a huge thing these days, and knowing somebody could get all my personal information, especially knowing the school has my Social Security number, I don't like it," student Ben Shank said.

Students said the OnePass Web site is where they do most of their university business, and it contains plenty of personal information.

"It's where we make our course schedules and pick out our classes for next semester. It's also where we buy our parking permits," student Kendra Parks said. "I think it's a little bit disturbing because you don't know who it was that accessed your information at what they could be doing with it."

ECU officials wouldn't comment on possible disciplinary actions in the case, saying only that they are investigating exactly how the error occurred. The university plans to use internal and outside auditors to review its information technology systems, officials said.
10 Comments

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  • michaeld Feb 12, 1:30 p.m.

    Another story for another day. To make you guys feel better it is virtually every school that is committing these kinda of data breeches. Its sick because some of the people aren't even students.

    When UCLA's happened some of the people applied and did not get in but the information from their application was still saved.
    The schools go from the state schools to top level schools like Notre Dame http://www.iwantmyess.com/?p=150

  • saetravina Feb 12, 8:27 a.m.

    This irritates me. So now if by some chance since I took some summer classes, my info was taken because of the ignorance of the person who messed this up and now my PERSONAL info is out there, I have to change my life because someone else could ruin it.
    Once again, ECU prevails and screwing people over and yet...they are raising tuition in NC and ECU is the highest...Great way to push people away.
    Oh yeah...please make sure we add some more construction to campus. It's hard to wear school colors when they are Purple, Gold and Construction Orange!!

  • E-Diva Feb 10, 3:13 p.m.

    Ahhh....so Mark finally approves of something (ECU)

  • ECU Alumni 06 Feb 10, 2:52 a.m.

    I went to ECU and somehow I am not shocked. I always loved ecu but the finacial department always did blow. Go pirates!

  • BRUCEY BABY Feb 9, 11:00 p.m.

    LIKE I SAID BUBBA...YOU DA MAN...THE GREAT MAN. GO PIRATES. MAYBE CHAPEL HILL WILL GET A HINT ONE DAY, BUT I DOUBT IT. BUT , ALAS, JOHN EDWARDS IS THEIR SAINT. HE WILL BE THE MAN FOR LIBERAL SCAPEL HILL.

  • no screen name Feb 9, 10:39 p.m.

    and people say "everyone" gets into ECU... sounds like that applies to Chapel Hill these days! ha ha

  • BRUCEY BABY Feb 9, 10:14 p.m.

    THATS RIGHT "DABUBBA"..YOU DA MAN TONIGHT.

  • no screen name Feb 9, 9:58 p.m.

    at least the people at ECU aren't idiots enough to send out acceptance letters like that other school did.

  • BRUCEY BABY Feb 9, 9:14 p.m.

    C'MON E.C.U. DON'T LET THE CHAPEL HILL ASSURANCE RUB OFF ON YOUR CREDENTIALS TOO. JUST CAUSE LIBERAL KNOW IT ALLS AT U.N.C. NEVER MAKE A MISTAKE ,DON'T BE LIKE THEM. OH, I FORGOT ABOUT UNC SENDING OUT COME TO SCHOOL LETTERS ON THE EMAIL. SORRY. MY MISTAKE, YOUR ERROR, ECU. STILL LOVE THOSE PIRATES...

  • builder276 Feb 9, 8:58 p.m.

    that's your tax dollars hard at rest again, good job pirates