Hackers Swipe Nearly 300,000 Student Records from Florida College Database

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

Anyone who believes they may be the victim of identity theft should call 1-877-ID-THEFT.

Tallahassee, FL - Florida college students are on alert because of an information security breach.

Administrators say students across the state who were eligible for Bright Futures scholarships may be affected.

FSU student Justin Dodd says his Bright Futures scholarship is a lifesaver; he shutters at the thought of other scholars being potential victims of identity theft.

Justin Dodd, FSU Bright Futures Scholar: "that's terrible and it's terrifying. Those are the people that need the money the most. So, if they're the ones being effected, that'll be like double the consequences."

Authorities are investigating an information security breach at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville.

The college is reporting hackers stole about 76,000 Northwest College student records, and about 200,000 records for students across the state who were eligible for Bright Futures scholarships for 2005 through 2007.

The school is notifying students.

Emily Pearse, FSU Bright Futures Scholar stated, "I think the efforts are good. I for sure thing that it's great to try to get ahead of the problem. But, I do think that efforts might've been made beforehand to prevent somethign like this, especially at a university level."

The stolen records include names, social security numbers, dates of birth, ethnicity, and gender.

Emily Pearse, FSU Bright Futures Scholar: "you learn about check your credit, check your funds, your transactions. I will check now, for sure."

The breach also involves more than 3,000 employee records, some of them contain confidential financial information. While the incident is being investigated.

Anyone who believes they may be the victim of identity theft should call 1-877-ID-THEFT.


Tallahassee, FL - Hackers have stolen nearly three-thousand student records from a Florida College Database.

The theft has students on our local college campuses on edge.

The Florida Department of Education says its working closely with Northwest Florida College in Niceville to determine the extent of the security breach that impacted thousands of students there.

In the meantime, FSU wants to make sure former and current students eligible for Bright Futures scholarship are on alert.

That's because D.O.E. says any student across Florida eligible for the Bright Futures scholarship for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years are included.

Administrators say the happened at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville sometime between late May and late September.

The college reports that the incident involves more than 3,000 employee records about 76,000 Northwest College student records containing personal identification information and about 200,000 records for students *statewide* who were eligible for Bright Futures from 2005 to 2007.

For students who think they may be a victim, go to wctv.tv, for information on what to do.


(Tips on what to do if you believe you are a victim are below the following press release)

Tallahassee, FL - The Division of Florida Colleges in the Florida Department of Education has been notified of an information security breach at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville involving employee and student records.

The college is reporting that the incident involves more than 3,000 employee records, some of which contain confidential financial information; approximately 76,000 Northwest College student records containing personal identification information; and approximately 200,000 records with information including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, ethnicity, and gender for students across the state who were eligible for Bright Futures scholarships for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.

Local, state and federal agencies are investigating the incident. The department is working closely with the college to determine the extent of the breach, ensure information security mechanisms are strengthened and the vulnerability closed down, and that notification of those affected begins as quickly as possible.

"We want to be sure that we fully understand the situation and provide accurate information to those impacted," said Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna. "While some of the contact information is dated, we will be trying to reach every student whose records may have been captured."

While the incident is being investigated, individuals who notice improper use of their Social Security number and believe they may be the victim of identity theft should contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338). Affected persons may also call the local sheriff's office and file a police report of identity theft, keeping a copy of the police report.

To protect themselves from the possibility of identity theft, they may also place a free fraud alert on their credit files. A fraud alert notifies creditors to contact individuals before opening new accounts in their name. Call any one of the three major credit reporting agencies at the numbers below to place a fraud alert and receive letters from the agencies with instructions on how to receive a free copy of their credit report.

Experian - 1-888-397-3742
Equifax - 1-888-766-0008
TransUnion - 1-800-680-7289
Information about the incident is available at www.nwfsc.edu/security/. Students who have attended or are attending Northwest Florida State College should contact the college for more information. Bright Futures scholars from 2005-06 and 2006-07 who attended other Florida colleges or universities may call 1-800-688-0656.


Previous Story, Tallahassee, FL, October 10, 2012 - Officials at Northwest Florida State College are reporting a massive security breach involving nearly 300,000 records in the school's computer systems that contains names, Social Security and bank routing numbers of students, teachers, staff and retirees.

The school said Wednesday that hackers stole 200,000 records including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth for any student statewide who was eligible for Bright Futures scholarships for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.

They also stole more than 3,000 employee records, including some which contained confidential financial information. Approximately 76,000 student records containing personal identification information was also hacked.

The breach occurred sometime between late May and late September.

Florida College System Chancellor Randy Hanna said that local, state and federal agencies are investigating the school's security breach.


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