VA: University of Mary Washington notifies students of data breach (update1 with memo to students)

Jeff Branscome reports UMW sent the following e-mail to all employees to remind them of security policies in the wake of a breach involving student information:

To All Faculty/Staff:

This is to advise you that UMW experienced an information security incident, which you may read about in the news media. The attached letter was sent to all students whose personal information was subject to unauthorized exposure. The exposure was very limited and we have no reason to believe that there will be further harm to the privacy of the individuals involved. In compliance with the policies and procedures of UMW and the Commonwealth of Virginia, the incident was brought to the attention of all affected students. In brief, a UMW student who was searching the EagleNet portal for his own information found student data files on a departmental EagleNet site. The data files included personal information for a large number of UMW students. The student proactively and responsibly reported this fact to university officials and immediate steps were taken to prevent further access to this information and to remove the files from the departmental EagleNet site. Based upon our review of the situation, we have determined that a total of three currently enrolled students opened these files. We have spoken with all three students and have no reason to suspect there was any malicious intent involved or that any student data will be targeted for identity theft.

Earlier this year, all faculty and staff were notified of the requirement to complete Information Security Awareness training. This training reviewed various information security related policies, including the Electronic Storage of Highly Sensitive Data Policy. These policies require all of us to diligently safeguard and protect the university’s data, and to take extra precautions to ensure the protection of highly sensitive, personally identifiable information involving members of the UMW community. All university employees should review these policies, found at:

So far, I don’t see any notice on UMW’s web site or in the media, but have e-mailed the university to request more information and I imagine we’ll see more details revealed soon.

Update 1: The university kindly sent me a copy of the notice sent to students, which indicates that Social Security numbers were involved.   In a separate email, a university spokesperson informs that 7,566 students were notified of the problem.


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