College Data Breach Hits Millions

November 27, 2013

(Photo by Emily Johnson-KJZZ)
The MCCCD District Office.

The personal information of nearly 2.5 million people who have taken classes or worked at the Maricopa County Community College District has been exposed. The data include names, Social Security numbers and credit card information. This mess will cost at least $7 million to clean up.

Spokesman Tom Gariepy said back in April, the FBI informed the district that a vast trove of information was vulnerable to thieves.

"The FBI said a website was claiming to offer for sale information from Maricopa databases. As it turns out, it was possible to access data," said Gariepy. "We don’t know that anyone did."

That database includes years of past students, employees of the 10-college district and some outside vendors. This week, the district’s governing board agreed to spend millions of dollars to fix the problem. That includes sending a letter to every person affected and paying for a year-long credit monitoring service for every name in the database. Some district employees responsible for internet technology will face discipline.

KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa Community College District.