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PC Virus Endangers OSU Employee Information

Oregon State University (US) is informing some 34,000 existing and erstwhile staff members that a PC virus has recently infected one of its computers containing their private data.

According to the University officials, the computer specialists think that the malware possibly didn't expose any part of the data to the unauthorized users, as reported by Gazettetimes on July 14, 2010.

Jonathon Dolan, Oregon State's Chief Information Security Officer, states that the virus revealed a security problem, as reported by OPB News on July 14, 2010. According to Dolan, the university ceased identifying members with their Social Security Numbers (SSNs) during 2005, while it planned to update records in compliance with the change in policy.

The security officer stated that the problem was that data had been stock piled on a computer at the university against a policy earlier of the incident.

Meanwhile, no clue has emerged that unauthorized users accessed any amount of individual information. The OSU officials are not ruling out a possibility since data related to people employed during 1999-2005 carried SSNs for employee identification, while the fact that those numbers exist at one place gives rise to the potential, even if low, of ID-theft.

Consequently, Oregon State is informing members to abide by the Consumer Identity Theft Protection Act of the university. It has dispatched e-mails elaborating the situation along with the precautions people can take for self-protection against ID-theft to all staff members who were likely affected.

Dolan said that the university was serious about the problem of ID-theft, which had become common over recent years. Since the institution accumulated its employees' large volumes of personal information, it should take the responsibility of protecting the same (information).

During 2008, a similar incident occurred when hackers broke into the PC at the OSU Bookstore and stole names, addresses and credit card information of customers. At that time, the store, which's independent of OSU's administration, got in touch with approximately 4,700 customers and notified them about a possible compromise of their information.

Related article: PC-Virus of 2005 Threatening Japanese Bank Accountholders, Warns Symantec

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