Iowa State Data Breach Could Affect 30,000 Students - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Iowa State Data Breach Could Affect 30,000 Students

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Iowa State University officials say they discovered a data breach exposing the social security numbers of almost 30,000 students enrolled between 1995 and 2012. Five departmental servers on campus were hacked by an unknown person, or group, apparently seeking to create a type of digital money known as bitcoins. Security experts say data breaches can happen anywhere to the most sophisticated companies. They say it's difficult to prevent them, but there are a number of things those affected can do after the fact.

"It makes me feel a little bit nervous," said Diane Haigh, whose daughter graduated from Iowa State in 1999.

She says data breaches aren't typically included with other concerns a parent might have when sending their children off to college.

"Maybe Target, or something else, but not a school," she said. "Not a university."

Others say they aren't too surprised.

"In the world we live in, you cannot expect everything to be as safe and secure as we wish it were," said Becky David, a St. Ambrose alumna.

Iowa State officials say there isn't any evidence that the hackers accessed files with financial information. However, because social security numbers were exposed, credit experts advise those affected to be cautious.

"It's a wake-up call to everybody every time it happens," said Brian DeLaney, Consumer Credit of the Quad Cities CEO.

He says those affected should first check their credit report. Iowa State is offering certain students free, university-funded credit monitoring.

"So, I'd take advantage of that, and order the credit report," DeLaney said.

He also advises issuing a free fraud alert, which lasts for 90 days.

"That's where you tell the credit bureau, 'Hey, my information has been compromised. I want you to know about it, and please positively ID me or anyone applying for credit in my name,'" he said.

Above all, he says, check all bank accounts to make sure everything that floats through is the account owner's transaction.

"So many people don't reconcile their bank account anymore," he said. "You know, that's so '90's."

Iowa State officials say any files with social security numbers, or other personal student information, have been deleted from the affected servers. They say stronger password standards will be enforced.

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