Over 220 current and former students at Pellissippi State Community College’s information was compromised after an “unauthorized user” gained access to a “general institutional email account” on Jan. 9.
Pellissippi State is the largest community college in the state of Tennessee, with five campuses located throughout the state. It currently serves 10,894 students.
An investigation into the matter found that the unauthorized user had access to 1,800 email accounts, 222 of which had personal information such as their Pellissippi State username, students’ names, student ID number, driver’s license number, date of birth and partial or full Social Security Numbers, the college said in the release.
“The incident was limited to one general institutional email account and to a small population of individuals who had sent information to that account,” Pellissippi State vice president for information services Audrey Williams told Knox News. “Pellissippi State believes this is an isolated incident, and it does not appear that any data have been disseminated to other people or sources.”
Pellissippi State “cannot confirm that data was viewed or copied from the account,” Williams said. IT officials at the school “immediately made changes to safeguard the email account that was compromised” and have offered those affected by the breach with credit monitoring and identity protection services for free for the next year.
Community college officials advised those affected to place a fraud alert on their credit files and continue to monitor their credit reports every three months for the next year.
“At Pellissippi State, we value everyone’s privacy,” Williams said. “We take this event, and the security of our information, very seriously. We are reviewing our policies and procedures to better protect against an event like this happening again in the future.”
The school notified the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Tennessee Department of Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education about the security breach, and is monitoring the college’s accounts and networks.