Hackers Access Personal Information on Kirkwood Website

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

The front of Linn Hall, the flagship building at Kirkwood Community College, is seen here on Tuesday, August 25, 2009. Linn Hall is one of the halls that the college hopes to update in the future with the help of funds from the levy.(Crystal LoGiudice/The Gazette).


By Jill Kasparie

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Kirkwood Community College is working with the FBI to figure out who hacked its website.

Hackers from outside the U.S. likely have their hands on about 125,000 personal records. Kirkwood Community College officials said hackers found a way to access the online applications portion of the school's website.

"The damage is done. There's nothing that can be done to resolve it now,” said Brett Villeneuve.

Nursing student Brett Villeneuve said he wasn't happy to get a letter from Kirkwood on Monday.

"I trusted this school with this information and they failed. They let me down and that's a disappointment,” Villeneuve said.

He's one of more than 100,000 people sharing new concerns about identity theft. The college said the hackers hit March 13. They targeted online application records from February of 2005 to March 2013 with names, addresses and social security numbers.

"It's very specific to applications to college credit classes,” said Kirkwood Vice President of Student Services Kristie Fisher. “So, it's not continuing education, it's not financial aid, it's not student records from the standpoint of transcripts or grades.”

Fisher said the school hired a firm to help them better protect the website. College leaders also decided to offer free services to those impacted with identity theft experts. It's a time of high frustrations for many, but some students don't seem to mind.

"It's not terribly concerning,” said second year student Alex Gibney. “I've had different things come up where information may have been compromised before, but it hasn't really affected me yet. So until it does, I don't think I will be too worried.”

Kirkwood said it doesn't have any evidence that any identities have been stolen or used at this point. They're not even sure if any of the applicant’s information was actually downloaded by the hackers.

College officials said you would be notified via mail if your information was included in the records that were hacked into. That letter will contain information on getting help from identity theft experts, if you’re interested in taking those steps.

If you think you might be a part of this bunch but didn’t receive a letter, check out this link to more information on Kirkwood’s website: http://www.kirkwood.edu/datafaqs.

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