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Source: Allen Featherstone, 785-532-4441, afeather@k-state.edu
News release prepared by: Cheryl May, 785-532-6415, may@k-state.edu

Friday, Jan. 30, 2009

K-STATE IDENTIFIES COMPUTER SECURITY LAPSE

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University is notifying 45 students who were enrolled in an agricultural economics class in spring 2001 that some personal information was inadvertently exposed on the Internet through a K-State departmental Web site.

The students whose information was affected were enrolled in AGEC 490 "Computer Applications in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness" during the spring semester of 2001. Names, Social Security numbers and grades of those students have been inadvertently exposed since 2001.

University information security staff were made aware of the problem last week. All data has been removed from the Web site and steps are being taken to prevent a repeat of this situation. Although there is no evidence that anyone's personal information has been misused by identity thieves, the university is notifying the affected individuals of the situation and the steps they can take to protect themselves.

In addition to supporting the affected persons, the university continues implementing even more stringent network and server access controls and taking steps to increase faculty and staff awareness of personal information security issues.

“Most importantly, we want to increase awareness among faculty and staff of the need to be vigilant protecting personal information, including Social Security numbers, in accordance with K-State policy,” said Harvard Townsend, chief information security officer.

"We deeply regret this incident," Townsend said. "K-State takes the protection of the personal information of our students very seriously."

K-State has been phasing out the use of Social Security numbers as student identification, beginning with the elimination of these numbers from university ID cards in 2006. With the implementation of a new student system in fall 2008, the university eliminated the Social Security number as the student ID.

Fred Cholick, dean of Agriculture, said personnel in the department of agricultural economics have contacted students involved and will assist with any questions.

Information on preventing identity theft is available at
http://www.k-state.edu/infotech/security/topics/idtheft.html