1M affected in WSU data breach

Written by Julie Spitzer | June 16, 2017 | Print  |

The names and personal data of nearly 1 million people throughout Washington state were comprised when a back-up hard drive was stolen from a safe in April, Phil Weiler, vice president of marketing and communications at Pullman-based Washington State University, tells Becker's Hospital Review.

The stolen hard drive stored back-up files at an off-site storage facility for a server used by WSU's Social and Economic Sciences Research Center, according to a WSU statement. The hard drive included names and personal data — sometimes social security numbers and personal health information — of nearly 1 million community members and survey participants from school districts, community colleges and other customers, says Mr. Weiler.

Mr. Weiler says WSU officials "do not have any evidence to indicate that [the data] has been accessed … [and] it would not be easy for people to extract information from the drive."

WSU began notifying affected individuals June 9 after it hired an independent cybersecurity company to confirm which individuals — and their data — were on the drive, according to the university.

Mr. Weiler urges those concerned to visit WSU's website or call its dedicated assistance number: 888-523-9195. WSU will be offering one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services.

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