The laptop had been university property, used by a staff member,
Days later, authorities arrested the alleged burglar and thief,
The personal information included names, birthdates and
In an interview with the
NMSU is subject to several federal data privacy regulations, Grijalva said, prompting her and other school officials to investigate the information contained on the laptop after it was stolen. They soon discovered the laptop had a backup file. A search of that file revealed the link to an Excel file containing the private data, she said.
Grijalva, who has worked at NMSU for years, said her department has had to send similar letters in the past, but this is the first time since she was promoted to chief information officer about 18 months ago.
There was nothing on the stolen laptop, she said, that could make NMSU central computing system vulnerable to hackers.
"No passwords or anything like that," she said.
Laws require NMSU to alert affected students within 60 days.
Thomas said he sent his own letter to Grijalva, Gov.
He was stunned such data could get out.
Wrote Thomas: "Apologies aside, there is no excuse in the world for this breach to happen."
Grijalva said NMSU officials are "really trying to raise security awareness." Her letter states the school "is always continuing to enhance its training" when it comes to data security.
She also included information from the
Quintana's case is pending in District Court. He has pleaded not guilty.
Anybody suspecting they've been victimized by identity thieves is advised to contact federal authorities and the three major credit reporting agencies, according to the
Here is some contact information.
Credit reporting agencies
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