Education

March 19, 2014

College savers' private information accidentally disclosed

Names, ages and addresses were inadvertently disclosed for some participants in the NC 529 Plan, which is North Carolina's college savings program. The problem was fixed within two hours, the authority said, and was not thought to be a malicious act.

Participants in the state’s college savings plan may have had their information publicly disclosed, the State Education Assistance Authority said Wednesday.

Officials with the NC 529 Plan, as the savings program is called, said they learned Tuesday night that some information was inadvertently disclosed by a third-party vendor. That vendor’s server accidentally allowed public access to information, including plan participants’ names, addresses, ages and beneficiary names.

The problem was fixed within two hours, the authority said, and was not thought to be a malicious act.

No Social Security numbers, financial information, dates of birth or passwords were disclosed, the authority said. The plan’s website was not breached, nor were accounts compromised, officials said. People affected are being notified.

In a statement, Steve Brooks, executive director of the authority, said, “We are committed to data security and have numerous safeguards in place to provide the security our participants and our citizens rightly expect. While we are deeply distressed that any information was inadvertently made available by this vendor, I want to stress no Social Security numbers or financial information were disclosed.”

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