Identity of Thousands Threatened After Security Breach at Northwestern

EVANSTON, Ill. – Seventeen thousand Northwestern University students, faculty and alumni were urged by school officials on July 14 to call fraud-checking services after hackers apparently accessed personal records located on various university computers.

The announcement proves that almost no institution is absolutely secure from outside infiltration. The security violation, which happened in May, occurred in spite of measures the university has in place to prevent it, including security software programs.

According to school officials, it is still not apparent that the hackers actually viewed the personal information, which includes Social Security numbers and other sensitive material. However, the school is encouraging people to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site (, which recently created a new program to help inform people of the many risks posed by identity theft. The program, “Identity Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend,” outlines precautionary actions to be taken with personal information in response to the recent rise in threats to personal identity.

The news comes as a shock to some students who previously felt that the university was a secure organization and could be trusted with their information. Although many are concerned, students have yet to report cases of identity theft or credit card fraud to school officials since the incident.

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