BIG RAPIDS (WWJ/AP) – Ferris State University has closed its investigation into a data security breach that risked unauthorized access to data about tens of thousands of people, including their Social Security numbers.
The school in Big Rapids said in a statement Tuesday that it found no evidence to suggest the information was viewed or taken. It also is conducting a review of its information technology systems to see what more can be done to improve its computer security.
“Taking aggressive action early and confronting this issue is consistent with the university’s core value of behaving in an ethical and transparent fashion,” Jerry Scoby, vice president for administration and finance at Ferris State, said in the statement. “We are focusing now on further strengthening the security of our systems to help protect the information provided to us.”
The school earlier said it learned on July 23 that an unauthorized person evaded network security and gained access to a computer that was used to operate its website.
Administrators say they’ve figured out how someone hacked into the computer server, but the school doesn’t want to make the information public as the case is still being investigated.
About 62,000 people’s names and Social Security numbers were in files that were accessible, the university said, including nearly 4,000 patients affiliated with the Michigan College of Optometry. That’s up from initial estimates of about 39,000 people.
The school said it shut down the server and hired a computer forensic firm to help it investigate and block further unauthorized access. Affected people were notified by letter.
In addition to notifying all potentially affected individuals, the university established a dedicated call center to address any questions. The university also is offering free credit monitoring services for one year to individuals whose Social Security number was accessible.
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