Univ. Of Md. Data Breach Impacts More Than 300K With IDs Issued Since 1998

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Massive data breach at the University of Maryland. Personal information of more than 300,000 faculty, staff and students is exposed.

Derek Valcourt has more on what hackers compromised and what’s being done about it.

It affects some people who were issued university IDs at the College Park and Shady Grove campuses dating all the way back to 1998.

Maryland students use their university IDs for everything, from accessing dorms to buying food in the cafeterias. But the university has discovered a sophisticated cyber attack, breaching several layers of security on their system that maintains the IDs.

It allowed hackers to steal as many as 309,000 names, dates of birth, social security numbers and student ID numbers.

“I’m afraid. I don’t want anyone to have my social security number,” said sophomore Marilyn McDonald.

Students like McDonald are not happy to hear information tied to their IDs has been jeopardized and not impressed with the university’s written notification and apology.

“It’s a little worrying, honestly. And the way they are downplaying it doesn’t make me feel any more safe,” said student Michael Robinson.

“They kind of wrote it as, ‘We lost your date of birth and social security. Don’t worry. Your medical records and everything like that are fine,'” student Jared Bergman said.

Those affected will be offered one year of free credit monitoring. The university declined to speak with WJZ on camera about the data breach, instead issuing a written statement:

“We are handling this matter with an abundance of caution and diligence. A team of state and federal law enforcement officials, IT professionals and computer forensic specialists are investigating and we are addressing the matter as we simultaneously and swiftly work to notify all who are affected.”

“We have an identity theft unit,” said Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler.

Gansler urges those affected to take advantage of the free credit monitoring.

“Somebody can open up future accounts, future credit cards, future loans,” Gansler said. “And so, you may not be able to detect the use of this information next week or next month. It may be months down the road. So you’ve got to be weary of that.”

The university promises they will learn from this breach and improve their security systems.

More details on the free credit monitoring and the data breach itself can be found here.

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