Laptop Theft Leads to Potential Data Breach

University officials are investigating the theft of a laptop computer from UConn’s West Hartford campus that contains the names and social security numbers of 10,174 applicants, many of whom were selected for consideration to attend the regional campus.

The theft of the computer, which was being kept in a storage cabinet at the campus’s information technology department, was discovered Aug. 3. University officials say their investigation indicates no efforts have been made to access University resources through the computer, nor is there any indication the laptop was stolen for the purpose of identity theft.  Steps have been taken to prevent unauthorized access to University computer systems through the device.

Information on the computer included files of undergraduate admissions-related data that contained, among other items, the contact information and social security numbers of the applicants. The information spans the period from 2004 through July 30, 2010.

The University is contacting, in writing, everyone whose name was on the computer, and is offering those individuals credit monitoring coverage for a period of two years at the University’s expense. The coverage will be provided through Debix Identity Protection Network, which includes a warning call each time somebody applies for credit in their name; identity authentication using phone numbers and other identifying information so creditors will know an imposter is not applying for credit; fraud alerts with all three national credit bureaus; and identity theft insurance in the amount of $25,000 to cover identity restoration costs, lost wages and legal defense fees and expenses.

“We deeply regret this incident. The University takes security of personal data seriously and is continuing its investigation to determine whether any University policies were not followed,” says Jason Pufahl, interim chief information security officer at the University. “The University will take corrective steps and, if warranted, disciplinary action.”

An investigation by UConn police at the campus is continuing.

For more information, please go to the Information Security Office website.