Driver’s license numbers belonging to 5,904 current and former students at Penn State Altoona may have been compromised.
This is a new discovery in a previously known breach of social security numbers, which was discovered on Sept. 10, according to a Penn State Live press release.
The social security numbers of 1,406 students at Penn State Altoona may have been leaked in an “SQL injection.”
Gerald Santoro, senior instructor of information, sciences and technology, said that while driver’s license numbers are not commonly used in identify theft cases, the information can be linked back to a user.
“It’s still a concern, but it’s not as big a concern as having social security numbers,” Santoro said.
Shari Routch, director of university relations for Penn State Altoona, said via email there is no reason to believe unauthorized individuals have used the driver’s license numbers.
“When the vulnerability in the server was detected on Sept. 10, the university server was immediately taken offline, and thorough security scans were run before the server was permitted to be placed back on line,” Routch said.
Penn State Spokesman Reidar Jensen said the university is constantly evaluating the latest technical and policy measures to strengthen the university’s defenses against attack.
“The university runs one of the larger efforts in the nation to scan for personally identifiable information and to remove that data from all computers that should not have it,” Jensen said.
The university has notified the individuals whose driver’s licenses have been compromised, Routch said.
“If they know your birthday with the year, and where you were born, there’s a study at Carnegie Mellon that shows that in four out of five cases, they can get your social security number,” Santoro said.
He advised students to be more general with their information online — such as not including the year or specific town in which they were born — to prevent this kind of attack.
“Throughout the university, this is recognized as a very serious problem,” Santoro said. “Nobody that I know of is taking it lightly.”
Anyone seeking more information is directed to call the Penn State Call Center at 855-842-8351 .