No longer gagged by law enforcement stay, Kaplan University begins notifying students of breach (updated)
On June 4, 2014, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigative Division notified Kaplan University (KU) that a former KU employee had stolen some students’ information, but placed a stay on notifying the affected students because of the criminal investigation. That stay was lifted this month, and KU began notifying affected students by letter on February 15, offering them a one-year complimentary membership in Experian ProtectMyID (the 3-bureau program that includes identity theft resolution and identity theft insurance). KU notes that it took considerable time and effort to work through the hard copy documents provided to them by VA OIG/CID to determine whom to notify and what information had been involved for each affected student.
It is not clear from their attorney’s letter to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office why or how the Dept. of Veterans Affairs became involved. Nor is there a lot of detail, period. We do not know how many students were affected, when the data theft occurred, how it occurred, how the information was misused, or how the breach was discovered. Nor do we know if the former employee has now been criminally charged.
DataBreaches.net e-mailed Kaplan University to ask a number of questions. They did not reply to yesterday’s inquiry, and re-sending the inquiry today resulted in an auto-responder that their media relations person was traveling on business and would reply to emails between flights. So far, there’s still no response, so we’re somewhat up in the air while he’s up in the air.
This post will be updated as more details become available.
Update 1: Kaplan University sent me a copy of the indictment of their former employee, Andrew Luckie, age 32, who is scheduled for trial on March 9. He is charged with one count of Possession of Unauthorized Access Devices (having 15 or more bank account numbers, debit card numbers, and social security numbers issued to other persons), and two counts of Aggravated Identity Theft.
According to the indictment, the crime occurred on or about May 30, 2014, which suggests that he was probably found in possession of the data on that date, but the data theft may have well occurred earlier. Luckie was arrested in Broward County, Florida on January 26, and the case will be tried in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Kaplan University declined to answer all this site’s other questions, referring us to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, who, of course, never answer any questions if something is not in a public record (there’s no criminal complaint filed in this case that would provide the details).
Hopefully, Kaplan will decide to be more transparent with the public about this breach.