Kapiolani Community College students warned of internet security breach

Students provided with information and guidance to protect themselves from identity theft

Kapiʻolani Community College
Leon Richards, (808) 734-9565
Kapiolani Community College
Carolyn Tanaka, (808) 956-8109
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: May 4, 2009

Kapiʻolani Community College has taken steps to notify 15,487 students who applied for or were granted financial aid any time between January 1, 2004 and April 15, 2009, and prior loan borrowers that a computer was infected with malware at the college in a way that may have put them at risk for identity theft. Parents of students who supplied parental information on their financial aid forms are also at risk.

On April 15, a computer that had access to personal information of financial aid applicants was found to be infected with a specific piece of malware that is believed to have the capability to steal user‘s sensitive data and communicate with specified Internet websites. While the infected computer did not itself store any sensitive information, it was on a local network where sensitive information was stored for financial aid processing. The computer was removed from the network immediately and a forensic investigation initiated. The investigation provided no evidence that any sensitive information was actually accessed by the infected computer, yet it also did not rule out that possibility.

The server files that may have been accessed included information necessary for financial aid processing including names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and social security numbers.

Kapiʻolani CC has taken steps to ensure that a similar incident does not recur and will be implementing additional security measures including minimizing the storage of sensitive information, verifying that computers used to access sensitive information are up-to-date with the latest version of anti-malware software and retraining all staff in safe computing practices.

The Honolulu Police Department and FBI have been notified of the incident and asked to investigate any potential criminal activity related to this incident. The university is also conducting an internal investigation to prevent similar situations from occurring and to improve operational procedures.

Those affected are encouraged to:

  • Obtain and carefully review your credit reports. You can order free credit reports from all three credit agencies at http://www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 877‐322‐8228.
  • Review your bank and credit card statements regularly and look for unusual or suspicious activities.
  • Contact appropriate financial institutions immediately if you notice any irregularity in your credit report or any account.

More specific instructions on ways to protect against identity theft and what to do if it happens is available online at http://www.kcc.hawaii.edu/object/idalerts.html. Updates will be made to this website as new information becomes available. Individuals whose information may have been compromised who have questions or need additional information may also call (808) 734-9522.

For more information, visit: http://www.kapiolani.hawaii.edu