Purdue University data breach: 26,000 students personal details leaked
Data breaches are not always the result of specific malicious acts. On the contrary, sometimes it is only because of a small human error. Recently, a data breach occurred at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, on the main campus, precisely because of a low-level mistake that a staff member accidentally committed. According to reports, in this data breach, more than 26,000 data were involved.
Purdue University is a famous world-renowned university of science and engineering. It has been listed among the top ten universities in the world in engineering with MIT, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. In history, Purdue University has created 13 Nobel Prize winners. China’s two bombers Deng Jiaxian and Rocket expert Liang Sili also graduated from the school.
According to reports, Purdue University suffered data leakage due to human error. In explaining this incident, Trent Klingerman, assistant legal counsel at Purdue University, said that a staff member of the school mistakenly shared a data file to an unrelated recipient via email. The attachment is an Excel file containing data for more than 26,000 students.
Klingerman further clarified the fact that a staff member of Purdue’s Financial Aid Department originally planned to send a brochure related to the Financial Assistance Program, but inadvertently sent a form containing the student’s personal information to the student’s parent.
Although Purdue has not issued any official statements to explain the details of the incident, a document on the Indian Attorney General’s website provided us with some information. The record indicated that the incident occurred on May 17, 2018, affecting a total of 26,865 students.
According to reports, this misidentified Excel file involves a large number of personal information of students, such as name, date of birth and social security number. Upon receipt of this document, the parent of the student who is the recipient immediately informs the sender. Klingerman confirmed that the parents of the students actively cooperated with Purdue University to destroy the documents received. Klingerman also believes that this information will never be misused.
Purdue University plans to send separate emails to affected students in the next few days and provide one-year credit monitoring for affected students.