Federal gov. website ‘glitch’ compromised college students’ social security numbers

Lauren Chooljian reports:

Private financial information belonging to as many as 5,000 college students was open for viewing on a federal government student loan website in recent weeks, according to a senior Department of Education staff member.

James Runcie, the Obama administration’s Chief Operation Officer of Federal Student Aid at the Department of Education, said during a congressional hearing Tuesday that a “computer glitch” during the month of October allowed users who logged in to the website saw other students’ information — including social security numbers — instead of their own. The website, he said, was affected for approximately six or seven minutes.

“We responded as quickly as we could,” Runcie told subcommittee members in response to their questions. “In terms of overall security architecture, that’s something we are very concerned about, and investing meaningful sums of money. But when you have this scale of a system in transition sometimes glitches occur.”

The Department of Education, Runcie added, shut down the site for 48 hours, and immediately notified students who might have been impacted.

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