By the Press-Citizen
September 29, 2006
From University News Services:
The University of Iowa is contacting subjects in research studies
following attacks on a computer in which personal information about
those subjects was stored.
The computer, used by UI psychology professor Michael O'Hara and UI
psychiatry professor Scott Stuart, contained the Social Security numbers
of some 14,500 subjects who were participants in research studies on
maternal and child health from 1995 until the present.
"All persons whose information may have possibly been exposed are being
notified and advised on what actions they may take to protect their
confidential information," said O'Hara.
Steve Fleagle, UI associate vice president and university chief
information officer, said the attacks against the computer were launched
and discovered last week. He emphasized, however, that there is no
evidence that any information on the computer was obtained in the
"Although the evidence we've collected in this case indicates the risk
is low, we are taking the utmost caution by sharing information about
the incident with everyone who may have been impacted," Fleagle noted.
He said law enforcement agencies have been notified, and that his own
department's analysis of the intrusions indicate they were automated
attacks designed to obtain a place to store video files for subsequent
In a notification letter to the research subjects, the university
directs them to a resource Web page --
http://www.psychology.uiowa.edu/faq.html -- which features frequently
asked questions about the incident, advises them how to place a fraud
alert with the three major credit bureaus, briefs them on how to run
periodic credit reports to ensure their accounts have not been activated
by unauthorized personnel, and provides other germane information.
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