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EKU electronic security snafu

By: Denny Trease
By: Denny Trease

If you worked for one major Kentucky university in the past few years, your personal information could have been accidently placed online.

Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond says names and social security numbers for more than 5,000 faculty, staff, and student workers were accessible on the internet for almost a year.

An EKU staffer found the information on the web last Friday, but university leaders couldn't make that discovery public until they were absolutely certain that access to the information was permanently blocked.

No reports of identity theft had been reported as of Wedensday afternoon, perhaps because accessing the file would have been very, very difficult.

Associate Vice President of Information Technology Mona Isaacs told 27 NEWSFIRST, "You could only find it if you knew the long file name, which was highly unlikely, or if you did an extremely specific google search. But because of the uncertainty, we sent an email out to everyone on campus."

Student worker Meredith Myers says, "When I got my email saying that my information may have been hacked into, it was a little scary."

Another student who works for the university now but luckily didn't during the 2007 - 2008 academic year when the information was mistakenly posted, Alex Henegar, says, "My roommate read me that email, and I was like, wow! How could a university make such a mistake. I know they didn't do it on purpose, and I trust the university leadership, but I had my phone stolen a few weeks ago, and they got some of my information so I'm very paranoid about all this stuff."

Fred Kolloff, an EKU administrator who also teaches a class there, says, "When I came to Eastern, this wasn't even heard of. This is new. It's part of today's digital environment I'm afraid, and there's not much we can do."

But the EKU administration pledges to do all they can to support anyone ultimately victimized by this unfortunate mistake. Mona Isaacs says, "If this has created an issue for someone's credit report, we will work with them, and the university is committed to help them resolve these problems."

In the meantime, the file with the personal info in it has been removed from the University web site, and Google has agreed to remove the link from their search engine.


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