Five higher ed data breaches worse than Sony's

30 educational institutions were attacked or leaked information last year

Although last year's high-profile Sony hack garnered the most media attention, five colleges and universities experienced even larger data breaches, the Huffington Post reports.

According to data from the Privacy Rights Clearninghouse, 30 education institutions had data breaches last year, 60% of which were caused by hacking or malware. The next most common type of breach, accounting for 16.7%, was an unintended disclosure.

1. University of Maryland: The nation's largest higher ed hack in 2014 occurred last March when the names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and university identification numbers of 309,079 staff, faculty, and students were compromised through a cyberattack. The database affected held information about every person who received an ID from Maryland's Shady Grove or College Park campuses since 1998. 

2. North Dakota University System: A server containing the social security numbers and names of nearly 300,000 former and current students was illegally accessed in February 2014.

3. Butler University: Hackers accessed the institution's network and exposed the personal information of nearly 200,000 people, including their bank account information, social security numbers, driver's licenses, and dates of birth.

4. Indiana University: A data breach exposed social security numbers, names, and addresses of 146,000 past and present students. The school's response, which included a call line center, cost it $130,000.

5. Arkansas State University: The leaking of partial and full social security numbers affected approximately 50,000 people.

Other schools that suffered data breaches last year included Iowa State University, California State University-East Bay, and Pennsylvania State University (McCarthy, Huffington Post, 1/15).

The takeaway: Student and staff data was breached at 30 educational institutions last year, and five of the leaks were bigger than the Sony attack.

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