1,400 personal records stolen from Columbia College

Three notebook computers were stolen two weeks ago from an office at the Columbia College, containing personal information, including social security numbers, of 1,400 of current and prospective students, alumni, and past and present employees.

Columbia Spectator reports that the fact was revealed only this Friday, some 11 days after the security breach. The University offered to everyone who was affected a two-year subscription to a credit monitoring system (free of charge, of course) and are advising them to activate fraud alerts. They also said that up to that moment, there was no evidence of misuse of that information.

There is a high probability it never will be, since the computers were most likely stolen just to be sold as physical items. But low risk is not no risk, and the victims are not that easily satisfied with the results of the investigation, although they must know that once lost, this information will always present danger and that cannot be helped now. The only thing left to do is to check their credit report for suspicious transactions or the opening of a new credit card they haven’t performed themselves.

The University has promised to step up security. “We have already strengthened the physical security of the office in question and are in the process of increasing our laptop security through the installation of high level encryption programs. We also are taking a more aggressive approach to scanning computer equipment for potential security threats,” the Dean of Columbia College, Michele Moody-Adams, wrote in the letter to the victims.

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