News Column

Massive Data Breach Hits Florida College

Oct. 11, 2012

A Florida college has confirmed a massive data breach giving hackers access to confidential information of nearly 300,000 students, employees, and faculty.

Officials at Northwest Florida State College said more than 200,000 records were stolen, including names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of any student who was eligible for Florida's Bright Futures scholarships from 2005 to 2007, CNET reported Wednesday.

"We speculate this was a professional, coordinated attack by one or more hackers," Northwest Florida State College President Ty Handy said in a memo sent to employees Monday. "We believe that the hackers are having to do specific work to pull together enough information about an individual employee to steal their identity."

More than 3,000 employee records and 76,000 student records with personal identification information were stolen, the school said.

"We want to be sure that we fully understand the situation and provide accurate information to those impacted," Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna said in a statement. "While some of the contact information is dated, we will be trying to reach every student whose records may have been captured."

Federal authorities are taking part in the investigation of the breach thought to have occurred between late May and late September.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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