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Identity theft false alarm concerns UW-Milwaukee officials

A recent security breach at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has heightened concern over the possibility of identity theft. University officials are informing a number of individuals including former and current students of the incident which occurred a few months ago, when someone hacked into the school's server.

The dawn of the new school year is likely the reason for the increased concern. As with similar instances of security breaches, the security of university servers was compromised and unknown individuals had access confidential information, including the names and social security numbers of thousands of faculty and staff members.

After UW-Milwaukee officials discovered the computer virus, they took steps to minimize any possible security breach. The university system server was shut down and law enforcement was notified of the incident. The school began to investigate the situation to try to find out who breached the system.

But the investigation has not yielded any concrete answers as to who was responsible for hacking into the school's server. And although whoever did it had access to sensitive information, there was no indication that any of that information was taken or downloaded.

If investigators had been able to find the person responsible, that individual could be facing criminal charges. It is unclear whether the individual would have been charged with identity theft since investigators do not believe that was the motive.

After this incident, it is likely that UW-Milwaukee officials will take extra preventative measures in order to reduce the risk of a security breach of this nature in the future. This could mean that the servers will be more heavily monitored so that in the event of a future incident, the cause of the breach could be traced.

Source: Milwaukee Courier: "Computer security incident discovered at UW-Milwaukee," Aug. 13, 2011.

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