A University of Maine computer server breach by hackers may have exposed personal information, including credit card and Social Security numbers of students, college officials said Thursday.

Potentially affected students made purchases through a campus-based computer store at the University of Maine’s campus in Orono.

University officials said it is still unclear whether hackers compromised any of the data.

The university said in a news release that the data on the UMaine server breached by hackers included 2,818 “unique identifiers,” which may include as many as 435 credit card numbers and 1,175 Social Security numbers.

John Gregory, executive director of Information Technologies at UMaine, said Thursday that the Computer Connection, the computer store involved in the breach, primarily serves the Orono campus. It is possible that students from other campuses, including the University of Maine at Augusta, could purchase computers from there, but Gregory said it wouldn’t make up a large part of the store’s business.

Some people who made purchases through a campus-based computer store at the University of Arkansas also potentially had their personal information exposed in the breach, UMaine officials said. Since 2007, that university has used a Web-based tool developed in 1999 by UMaine’s Computer Connection.

The compromised server supported only online sales of campus computer stores. It is an isolated system that has no relationship with any other UMaine computer systems containing other student or university data, officials said.

The system was taken off-line when the breach was discovered; and local, state and federal law enforcement agencies were contacted, according to John Forker, chief information security officer for the University of Maine System, who is leading the investigation.

UMaine is using AllClear ID Identity Protection Network to help contact the Computer Connection’s affected customers and provide them with at least 12 months of identity protection at no cost. Those services include credit monitoring, alerts regarding credit changes and identity theft insurance.


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