Email mistake exposes personal information of university faculty

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Thousands of Arkansas State University faculty members are at risk of having their identities stolen.  Someone mistakenly emailed their personal information including driver's license and social security numbers to hundreds of people.

ASU has worked to get the information contained and deleted.  The big concern is from those affected who worry that maybe not today but further down the road their information could be used and it could affect them financially.

"There is always that outside chance that somebody could forward it or download it," said ASU Faculty member Jack Zibluk.

Private Information belonging to about 70% of the faculty and staff of Arkansas State University was sent out.

"An employee inadvertently attached a report to a distribution list and that report contained some information about current and former employees," said Associate Vice President of Information Technology Services Mark Hoeting.

"Anyone who does any traveling for ASU is on the list and it included driver's license numbers and social security numbers," said Zibluk.

Information belonging to 2,484 full and part-time members of the faculty and staff and some former employees was in that email.  Hoeting said they are working to protect their employees.

"We're working directly with each of the individuals who was received it to validate that the file has been removed," said Hoeting.

Even though these steps are being taken, Faculty member Jack Zibluk said they are concerned.

"In that time those 144 recipients had that information," said Zibluk.

Hoeting doesn't believe there is a big risk.

"We've partnered with Experion and have a fraud monitoring service that we're subscribing to for those individuals for twelve months we'll revisit the renewal of that after 12 months," said Hoeting.

"This is not in place yet.  No faculty member has yet been covered by any of these protection programs," said Zibluk.

Zibluk said he hopes no one who got the email has what he calls "evil in their hearts."

"Rationally speaking the chances are very, very small of anything going wrong," said Zibluk.

The university is also taking steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.  One thing they've already done is remove all social security numbers from their system.

"I imagine we've all sent the wrong attachment to the wrong people or the wrong message to the wrong recipients.  it can happen to anyone," said Hoeting.

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