Univ. of Minnesota Reveals Stolen-Laptop Data Breach

The University of Minnesota is notifying more than 13,000 past and present students that their personal information is contained on computers stolen last month.

The two Apple computers were stolen from the Institute of Technology in mid-August.

The stolen desktop computers contained records on entering Institute of Technology students from the fall of 1991 to this year, university spokesman Daniel Wolter said.

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About 600 of those being notified, all former students, have been warned to watch out for any suspicious activity on their credit reports, because the stolen data included their Social Security numbers .

The break-in happened in a first-floor office of Lind Hall on the Minneapolis campus. Both the office and the building were locked at the time.

Wolter said there's no evidence that any identity theft has occurred. The assumption is that the thieves were probably after the computers, not the contents, he said.

It's probably the largest number of students ever affected by a computer mishap at the university, Wolter said. But he said the main concern is the release of Social Security numbers; the university stopped using them in most student records years ago.

As a result, a large majority of the stolen records did not have them, he said. Most included such things as name, address, phone number, student ID, birth date, citizenship and other personal information.

Wolter said that the university has notified nearly all of the affected students but is still trying to track down some addresses.

"We have a responsibility to ensure that their personal and private information is protected," Wolter said. He said the university "very much regrets" what happened.

Wolter said the university is stepping up efforts to ensure that all private information is kept in a centralized system with more safeguards.