Indiana State University Newsroom

Stolen laptop contains student information

July 15, 2008

A password-protected laptop computer containing personal information for current and former Indiana State University students was stolen during the weekend, the university reported Tuesday.

While there is no evidence to suggest that password security was breached, the university is taking the precaution of notifying all affected students for whom it has current contact information.

The laptop contained data for students who took economics classes from 1997 through the spring semester 2008, estimated at more than 2,500 individuals. The information includes names, grades, e-mail addresses and student identification numbers. Beginning in 2003, use of social security numbers as student ID numbers was discontinued in favor of university-specific identification numbers.

Students affected may wish to contact any credit bureau to request that a fraud alert be placed on their account.

The theft occurred Saturday while the professor was traveling in southern Indiana.

The incident was reported immediately to the appropriate law enforcement agency and early Monday to university officials. The extent of the information contained on the computer was not determined until Monday night.

Faculty and staff are being reminded that university policy prohibits the storage of private, sensitive data on portable computers. In addition, laptops provided to faculty are equipped with several security measures including encryption and a bio-metric fingerprint reader to prevent access by anyone other than the assigned user. Adherence to existing policies will safeguard personal information

Approximately 500 ISU faculty members have laptop computers. The university is reviewing its procedures to ensure compliance with existing policies, said Interim President C. Jack Maynard, the university's provost and vice president for academic affairs.

More information, including a list of frequently asked questions, is available on a special ISU Web page at   

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743