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Sunday, October 05, 2008

SSN's of thousands of Tenn. State students breached

A flash drive containing the social security numbers of more than 9,000 Tennessee State University students was recovered on Monday, September 15 after being missing for more than five days.

TSU President Melvin N. Johnson confirmed that a student, who had used the flash drive for saving a homework assignment, returned the drive at approximately 9 p.m. on Sept. 12.

Johnson did not indicate whether the student tampered with the information on the device, but informed the university that the flash drive is back in the university's possession and that state auditor would investigate further.

A financial aid counselor reported the flash drive missing Tuesday morning, Sept. 9, after discovering that it was no longer in her possession, administrators said.

The flash, which contained financial records of TSU students dating back to 2002. "The loss of this data is unfortunate," said Tennessee State Provost Robert Hampton. University personnel began notifying students the same week about the security breach, although no attempts to use the data had been discovered, administrators said.

Students’ reactions ranged from disappointment to anger.

"I think it's irresponsible. I really think that someone misplaced it, but that kind of stuff should be closely guarded," said Charity King, a senior nursing major from Nashville, Tenn.

"I feel that it is ridiculous and irresponsible for them to be unorganized, unorthodox and unprofessional," said Damarrion Fleming, a mechanical engineering major from Louisville, Ky.


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