More than 100,000 alumni of Boston College are being informed that a computer hacker broke into a computer containing their addresses and Social Security numbers.
While college officials said they believe the hacker may not have been attempting to retrieve personal information--the hacker was probably planting a program to launch invasions of other computers--they decided to take no chances and inform alumni of the violation.
"As a precaution we have chosen to alert the entire database, which is upwards of 100,000 individuals," a Boston College spokesman told the Boston Globe. "As a result of the breach, we have taken immediate actions to purge all Social Security numbers for this particular computer, and from all alumni records."
The breached computer was operated by an outside contractor unnamed by the university. Boston College noted that the nation's universities used Social Security numbers to identify students for decades.
The college urged BC alumni to tell banks and other financial institutions that their Social Security numbers may have been compromised. It further suggested that "fraud alerts" be placed on alumni credit records so financial institutions could monitor them for irregularities.