GSO to change security measures, increase preventative measures following Social Security leak
After leaking nearly 60 Social Security numbers, the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) is now working to pick up the pieces.
The sensitive information was contained in expense reports filed through UAS. The GSO files for grants and reimbursements through UAS and in an effort to increase transparency, this particular round of expense reports was posted online in an effort to increase transparency.
Tom Devlin, president of the GSO said the problem could have stemmed from the wrong column of information being removed from the spreadsheet or a Mac to PC transfer problem but he maintains there was no malicious intent on the part of the GSO. Devlin explained the Social Security numbers were not labeled as Social Security numbers and they did not contain dashes or any other identifying characteristics.
One student who was affected and would prefer to remain anonymous as a preventative measure feels that although the intent was not malicious in nature, the effects are still there.
“They have a duty to protect other people’s information and keep it safe and they didn’t,” they student said.
The document was not prominently displayed on the GSO website, and it did need to be downloaded in order to be viewed according to Devlin, which still left information out in the open.
The location of the information was so remote, Devlin said that some students are not worried and will not take advantage of the protection the GSO will offer. Devlin explained that the 818 hits that were recorded are not necessarily to the document in question. Other GSO information is also located in that portion of the website including the constitution and bylaws which are currently being re-written.
“The other documents were probably more heavily hit,” Devlin said.
The GSO is offering a membership to Lifelock, an identity theft prevention service with up to one million dollars in protection. They also have contacted UAS and will no longer need to include Social Security numbers and have a strictly online voucher system.
The affected student also said that upon finding out about the breach, they purchased Lifelock for $300. GSO will reimburse anyone who purchased security measures on their own up to whatever the costs ends up being per person for GSO. The Lifelock purchase set the GSO back $1,800. “Their email was defensive, it was meant to discredit anyone else’s concern because their information was leaked as well,” the affected student said.
Devlin also indicated that the actions taken by the GSO following the leak are similar to those taken by Playstation and the U.S. Army after their information leaks. The ASP will continue to update accordingly.