Privacy: A Bigger Challenge Than Ever

Even for a place where personal information is under siege, the case of Brandy Combs is unusual.

University of Florida police allege Combs stole a university librarian’s personal information to fraudulently obtain more than $31,000 in student loans and took a student’s information to get a false student identification. He was arrested on May 20 on charges of fraud and passing false checks.

While the details of the case were unusual, having a breach of private information at UF was not. The university experienced more than 130 confirmed privacy breaches in 2008, compromising the information of about 358,000 individuals, according to the UF Privacy Office.

UF officials said they’re taking steps to improve security as new regulations increase reporting requirements and fines for breaches. But they say the nature of a university means keeping large amounts of information that is sought by hackers and others.

“Every university, because it’s a university, is a prime target,” said Chuck Frazier, UF’s interim chief information officer. “You can be attacked from anyplace and every place.” The Gainesville Sun.

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