University Of Hawaii Manoa Breach Affects 40,101 Alumni SSNs

UH-Manoa students are at increased risk of identity theft and fraud

November 3, 2010

4 Min Read


HONOLULU, Hawaii. The University of Hawaii-Manoa and has breached the personal information of 40,101 students who attended between 1990-1998 and 2001, including names, social security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, demographic, and detailed academic performance data. These UH-Manoa students are at increased risk of identity theft and fraud. The information was posted on an insecure, unencrypted University of Hawaii-West Oahu (UHWO) website for almost a year. Some of the affected alumni attended UHWO. Alumni attending other years and on other campuses may have also been affected by the breach. This latest breach follows on the heels of a May, 2010 breach involving 53,000 students, and a 2009 breach involving 15,487 parents and students. The Liberty Coalition will hold a conference call and answer questions from the Press on Wed, Nov. 3, 2010; 10:30 am HST/ 4:30 pm EST. Dial: (610) 214-0200, Code: 863597#.

Aaron Titus discovered the information.

The vast majority of the breached information was placed online on November 30, 2009 at 2:46pm by a now-retired Institutional Research Office (IRO) faculty member, as a part of a longitudinal study. The faculty member had intended to use the information to replicate a 15-year-old study, but he retired before completion. He also told the Liberty Coalition that he had transferred large amounts of student information to his home computer for easier access. He deleted the remainder of this information after this breach came to light. The University of Hawaii has not commented on how many other faculty members have transferred student personal information to their home computers.

The majority of the 40,000+ records are in-depth student statistical data including things like Gender; Marital Status; Number of Dependent Children; Existence of a Physical, Hearing, Mobility, Learning, Psychological, Visual Disability or Traumatic Brain Injury; and Highest Level of Education Attained by each Parent. Three of the other names and social security numbers were contained in a grading sheet from a 2006 PSY 606 class.

The Liberty Coalition discovered the files using a Google search. University officials took the files offline within hours after the Liberty Coalition alerted them, immediately began an internal investigation, and reported the incident to the FBI and local law enforcement. University officials will issue their own media release about the breach and will directly notify all the individuals who may be affected.

Although the breach was inadvertent, several aspects of the events violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the University's Privacy Policy.

The Registrar's Office encourages students to report failures of this sort to the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy Compliance Office: 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-4605. PH: (202) 260-3887 or FAX: (202) 260-9001. Students may also ask for a hearing before the Dean of Students by completing FERPA Form 7, "Request for Hearing."

Individuals with questions should visit to find out whether they were affected, visit the University's Alert, and call the University of Hawaii West Oahu ID Alert Hotline at: (808) 956-6000.

In addition to names, social security numbers and dates of birth, some or all of the following information was breached for each student:

* Gender * Ethnicity and Native Hawaiian Status * Home Language * Marital Status * Number Of Dependent Children * Dependents In Household * Existence of a Physical, Hearing, Mobility, Learning, Psychological, Visual Disability or Traumatic Brain Injury * Highest Level of Education Attained By Father * Highest Level of Education Attained By Mother * Citizenship * Veteran Status * Financial Aid Status for Each Term * High School GPA, Rank, and Name * Last College(s) Attended * Transfer Information * SAT Verbal & Math Scores * TOEFL Score * Detailed Information on GPA and Credit Hours * Academic Major and Minor * Employment Status While Attending * Primary Objective In Attending Manoa * Highest Degree Intended * Primary Place Of Residence While Attending * Primary Source Of Funds For College * English Proficiency and Placement * Degrees Earned * Performance in English, Writing, Math & History * Faculty-Staff, Institutional, Military, Pacific-Asian, EWC Grantee, Hawaiian and Appeal Exemption Statuses * Hours Employed per Week * Housing Status: Off-campus, On-campus, With Family or Relatives * Reason for Going to College * Sports * Aid Received

Individuals affected by this exposure should immediately visit and search for their names, to confirm what types of personal information were exposed. has a list of recommended steps victims should take.


National ID Watch is a search engine for personal information breaches. Sponsored by the Washington, DC non-profit Liberty Coalition, provides more than a million free personalized Identity Exposure Reports™ as a public service. Each Identity Exposure Report (IXR) documents what types of personal information were exposed (such as Social Security Numbers, Birth Dates, Addresses, etc.), without revealing them. Each IXR also details the situation surrounding each exposure, and contact information of those responsible for the breach. Armed with this information, victims can further investigate, take action, or correct harm. Source:

-Aaron Titus

Information Privacy Director

Liberty Coalition

(202) 669-2969

Twitter: @aarontitus

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