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Data Breach At Ferris Reveals Names, SS Numbers

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -- A data security breach at Ferris State University put identifying information of thousands of people at risk of being accessed, and the school is offering free credit monitoring as a precaution to those affected, officials said.

The school in Big Rapids said it learned on July 23 that an unauthorized person evaded network security and gained access to a computer that was used to operate its website. About 39,000 people's names and Social Security numbers were in files that were accessible.

"While there is no evidence to show any credit information was compromised, these individuals are being offered one year of free credit monitoring to address concerns," the school said in a posting Thursday on its website.

The school said it shut down the server and hired a computer forensic firm to help it investigate and block further unauthorized access. The investigation didn't find any evidence that the unauthorized person viewed or removed any information.

Affected people are being notified by letter. The school said it hasn't received any reports from students or employees that information has been misused.

"Ferris recognizes the importance of the privacy and confidentiality of personal information that is provided to us," John Urbanick, Ferris State's chief technology officer, said in a statement. "We will continue to strengthen our security measures to help guard against future attempts of this kind."

The school also mailed letters to 19,000 current, former and prospective students whose names and student identification numbers were accessible. Students may change their campus wide identification number by calling the school or filling out a form online.

Details for those affected by the security breach also are posted on the school's website,

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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