Washington State University is under a lot of fire, after it was revealed that a hard drive with plenty of personal information was stolen. Thieves broke into the Olympia storage locker back in April and managed to steal an 85 pound safe with said hard drive inside. After examining the situation, the university ended up sending letters to anyone that might have been affected by the theft.
Seattle Times stated that the university sent letters to one million people, so that is a lot of personal information. This backup device has the social security numbers of people in the university, as well as information from “survey participants.” It’s a messy situation for the university, but one they are determined to fix it, no matter what the cost.
Phil Weiler, the vice president for marketing and communication at the Washington State University, later made a statement. Weiler stated that a number of the information in the hard drive is encrypted or well protected, probably to assure members of the facility. However, he did state that they could be in danger if the robbers know how to encrypt data, or if they can even break into the safe.
Due to the theft, Weiler has promised that the university would do a top to bottom review of its tech information and policies. The university has offered those affected a free year subscription of credit-monitoring and identity-theft protection as an apology. It’s clear that the university will be paying dearly for this thievery, though they are trying to make things right.
Originally, people that got the letter couldn’t believe what they were reading, since robbing the university seemed impossible. However, the letter did come from Kirk Schulz, the president of Washington State University, so it is pretty legitimate. An assistance line has also been made to help those affected, which they can find here via WSU Education.