Wednesday, October 20, 2004

UC Berkeley reports massive security/privacy breach

Another in a series of significant privacy incidents has hit California universities. This time, a research database containing very sensitive personal information was penetrated. See the discussion on Slashdot and the article, below, from Security Focus:

SecurityFocus HOME News: California reports massive data breach:

"The FBI is investigating the penetration of a university research system that housed sensitive personal data on a staggering 1.4 million Californians who participated in a state social program, officials said Tuesday.

The compromised system had the names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers and dates of birth of everyone who provided or received care under California's In-Home Supportive Services program since 2001, says Carlos Ramos, assistant secretary of the state's Health and Human Services Agency. The program pays a modest hourly wage to workers who provide in-home care for hundred of thousands of low-income elderly, blind and disabled people.

Officials say they have not determined whether or not the intruder actually downloaded the database, which had been made available to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley under a confidentiality agreement. 'We don't know whether or not the information was accessed,' says Ramos. 'Since it is sensitive data we figured it would be best to get word out to people so they can take preventive measures just in case.' ..."

See also the California Department of Social Services information about this incident at: The Department also has an FAQ related to the incident at

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