Ohio State notifies of unauthorized access to university server

News Release Date: 
12.15.10

Ohio State notifies of unauthorized access to university server
No evidence personal data acquired

Ohio State University is notifying past and present students, faculty, staff and others that a university computer server was illegally accessed by unauthorized individuals. Because there is no evidence that any information was taken, the university does not believe that this incident will result in identity theft for any of the affected individuals. However, it is taking a cautious approach and choosing to offer free credit protection services.

In late October, the university discovered that unauthorized individuals logged into an Ohio State server that housed personal information for approximately 760,000 individuals including current and former faculty, staff, and students, as well as applicants and other individuals affiliated with the university such as consultants and contractors. That server includes names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses. No OSU Medical Center patient records or student health records were involved.

The university immediately secured expertise from some of the nation’s best computer forensic consultants. In late November, they concluded that although access was confirmed, there was no evidence that any data were taken out of the system by unauthorized individuals. The experts did find evidence that the purpose of the unauthorized access was to launch cyber attacks.

“We are committed to maintaining the privacy of sensitive information and continually work to enhance our systems and practices to reduce the likelihood of such events occurring,” said Joseph A. Alutto, Ohio State provost.

“We regret that this has occurred and are exercising an abundance of caution in choosing to notify those affected. We also are working with a nationally recognized data security firm to further strengthen all of our systems,” Alutto added.

All individuals whose information was in the system have been offered 12 months of free credit protection to help safeguard against harm from misuse of personal information. For additional information, individuals should visit:  www.osu.edu/creditsafety.