Cal State Data Breach Hits Nearly 80,000 Students

A data breach at eight Cal State campuses exposed the personal information of nearly 80,000 students enrolled in an online sexual violence prevention class, officials said Tuesday.

The breach occurred through a company, We End Violence, that was contracted to provide the non-credit class on sexual harassment, which is required of all students under state law.

Officials with the company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Two other vendors were also providing the classes but were not compromised, said Cal State spokeswoman Toni Molle.

Cal State officials said they had few details on how the hack occurred other than that there was a "vulnerability in the underlying code."

Cal State has hired a forensics firm to investigate.

Information such as passwords used to log into the class, as well as sign-in names, campus-issued email addresses, gender, race, relationship status and sexual identity, were exposed.

Personally identifying information such as Social Security numbers, credit card and driver's license numbers was not compromised, Molle said.

Campuses involved are Channel Islands, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Maritime Academy, Cal Poly Pomona, Northridge, San Diego and Sonoma.

A statement issued by the chancellor's office said: "Protecting student data and personal information is a top priority of the California State University (CSU). As soon as it was learned that student information was exposed by a third-party vendor (hired to provide web-based sexual assault and prevention training), immediate action was taken at the eight impacted campuses to further safeguard student information."

All affected students were advised to immediately change their passwords.

The company also set up a toll free hotline, (877) 218-2930, for students' questions.

The company was first alerted Aug. 24 of a possible breach, said We End Violence director Carol Mosely.

The website was shut down two days later. Students, however, were not informed until Sept 4, Mosely said.

"We were working as quickly as we could and...

Comments are closed.