A computer breach at the University of Maryland exposed the personal information of more than 300,000 faculty, staff, students and affiliated personnel from the College Park and Shady Grove campuses, school officials said Feb. 19.

University President Wallace Loh said that the database record included names, Social Security numbers, dates of births and university identification numbers of students and faculties dating back to 1998.

In a statement, Loh said he was notified by the university’s vice president of information and technology, Brian Voss, on the evening of Feb. 18 that the University had been a victim of a “sophisticated computer security attack that exposed records containing personal information.”

According to Loh; since the incident, officials are working to ensure the breach was contained and that data systems are protected.

“I would like to reiterate that the data breach was restricted to name, Social Security number, date of birth, and University number, “said Loh in the statement. “No financial academic, health or contact information was accessed.”

Loh said the university is offering one year of free credit monitoring to individuals whose information has been compromised.

“It is not comforting to know my personal information could be compromised and exposed to the public without my knowledge,” said Anwar Taylor, 24, a graduate of the school.

Taylor, who graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and criminology, said he is not happy with the knowledge that his personal information could be compromised, but said he understands that these attacks are not uncommon in today’s information age. He said he hopes the university will see this attack as a wakeup call and improve its security.

The case is under investigation by a team of state and federal law enforcement officials, IT professionals and computer forensic specialists.


Maria Adebola

Special to the AFRO