College Reports Breach of Confidential Student Information

10/10/2012


NORTHWEST FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE
Office of the President
MEDIA CONTACT: Dr. Ty Handy, College President, (850) 729-5360 or Cristie Kedroski, Vice President for College Advancement, (850) 729-5362
DATE: October 10, 2012

College Reports Breach of Confidential Student Information via Unknown Outside Source, Investigation On-Going

Northwest Florida State College announced today that further investigation of the breach in the security of the college’s computer systems has been broadened to include Northwest Florida State College student data on 76,500 current and past students as well as student data on approximately 200,000 Bright Futures scholars across the State of Florida.

The NWFSC student information compromised in the security breach contains public directory information including name and address, as well as confidential student data including birth date and Social Security number. The Bright Futures scholars’ data file includes all State of Florida Bright Futures eligible students during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 academic years. This data file contains student names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, ethnicity and gender. No student academic files have been compromised.

The college is coordinating its efforts with the Division of Florida Colleges in the Department of Education to formally notify all students impacted by the data breach.

Northwest Florida State College has contracted with an external consultant, to ensure the college’s data remains safe and secure. Further, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office cybercrimes unit continues to investigate the matter with assistance from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

As reported on Monday, the data breach occurred between May 21 and September 24, 2012 and includes 3,200 employees. The breach was an unlawful, unauthorized acquisition of computerized data by an entity/person outside the college that materially compromised the confidentiality of personal information maintained by the college.

While the incident is being investigated, individuals who notice improper use of their Social Security number and believe they may be the victim of identity theft should contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338). Affected persons may also call the local sheriff’s office and file a police report of identity theft, keeping a copy of the police report.

To protect themselves from the possibility of identity theft, they may also place a free fraud alert on their credit files. A fraud alert notifies creditors to contact individuals before opening new accounts in their name. Call any one of the three major credit reporting agencies at the numbers below to place a fraud alert with all three agencies, and receive letters from all of these agencies, with instructions on how to receive a free copy of a credit report from each agency.

Experian – (888) 397-3742
Equifax – (888) 766-0008
TransUnion – (800) 680-7289

Information about the incident is available at http://www.nwfsc.edu/security/. NWFSC students who have attended or are attending the college and have recently been the victim of identity theft should contact the Dean of Students, Christine Bishop, at registrar@nwfsc.edu. Bright Futures scholars from 2005-06 and 2006-07 who attended other Florida colleges or universities may call 1-800-688-0656. ##

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