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Yale oversight exposes Social Security numbers PDF Print E-mail
Articles | Tech
Written by Morphus on Thursday, 25 August 2011 04:08   

Names and Social Security numbers of 43,000 Yale University students, faculty, staff, and alumni were accessible via the Google search engine for about 10 months


The problem was discovered June 30 and university officials disclosed it on August 12, offering affected individuals two years of free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance even though they said there was no indication that the information had been exploited, the Yale Daily News reported last week.


The data, mostly belonging to people who worked for the university in 1999, was stored on a file transfer protocol (FTP) server that had been hidden from Web search engines until September 2010 when Google's search engine started indexing FTP servers, said Len Peters, Information Technology services director for Yale. The school's IT department was unaware of that change, he said.


The file and its directory had innocent sounding names, and someone encountering the file via Google would not be able to figure out what was in it without first opening it up, according to Peters.


"It was pretty well-hidden, with a very inconspicuous file name," said Peters, who was hired late last year.


Google representatives would not reveal whether anyone had accessed the data from its search engine, he said.



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