America's Privacy Watchdog
1,818,342 Identity Exposure Reports
EXPOSING IDENTITY: (Virginia Tech)
Virginia Tech
Vice President for IT
1700 Kraft Drive, Suite 2
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-4227
http://www.vt.edu

Sensitivity: Severe
Duration: More Than Six Months
Distribution: Exposed Online
Detailed Exposure Statistics:
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Resolution

Files Deleted, Caches Cleared

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Press Release

Virginia Tech Profs Post 128 SSNs Online
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July, 21 2008 UPDATED: January, 01 1900

BLACKSBURG, Virginia. In a breach of personal student information almost identical to the one reported in September 2007, professors "erclark1" and "shugart" posted personal information for 250 students on Virginia Tech servers, including 128 social security numbers and 111 partial social security numbers. The files were discovered and deleted in December 2007, but the Liberty Coalition waited several months before announcing the breach, to make sure search engine caches cleared. The breached files were created in September 2000 and Spring of 1998, and could not have been posted before that time.

The first file, survey00A.xls was created September 4, 2000 by "dixie" in the "Virginia Tech- Ag Econ" department, and last saved by "Erica Clark." The file appears to be a classroom study that measured student participation in class and student organizations, hours worked, educational goals, and academic interest areas.

The second file, gradesvsattendance.xls, was a grading sheet for Math 2224-5417, in Spring 1998. It includes Test Scores, Attendance, and Quiz Scores.

This breach falls within a common national pattern where university faculty make wholesale backups of old student information, much of which was created when universities used social security numbers as student IDs. Virginia Tech should conduct ongoing scans of both text and non-text files in their possession to root out sensitive personal information before it is indexed by major search engines.

The information on this page was compiled by the Liberty Coalition, which bears sole responsibility for its accuracy.

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