This afternoon, Cornell alerted over 45,000 current and former members of the University community that their confidential personal information — including name and social security number — had been leaked when a University-owned computer was stolen. To ensure protection in response to the incident, which has exposed many to possible identity theft, the University will be providing free credit reporting, credit monitoring and identity theft restoration services to those affected by the breach.
Cornell announced that an employee had access to this data to correct transmission errors for troubleshooting purposes. The files storing the sensitive information were being stored on a computer that was not physically secure, violating University policy and subjecting the computer to theft.
When the computer was stolen earlier this month, the incident was reported to law enforcement officials and an investigation to find the perpetrator and locate the computer is currently underway.
According to the University, there has been no indication that the exposed data has been abused, but the incident shines light on the broader issue of security and the vulnerability of private information in the digital age.