[ISN] Laptop with personal data of 98,000 recovered

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Sep 16 05:02:37 EDT 2005


By Reuters 
September 15, 2005

A stolen laptop computer holding personal information of more than
98,000 California university students and applicants has been
recovered, but it's uncertain whether the information had been tapped,
the University of California, Berkeley said on Thursday.

The laptop, which stored names and Social Security numbers,
disappeared in March from a restricted area of the university's
graduate division offices, forcing the university to alert more than
98,000 students and applicants of the theft.

The university said in a statement that a San Francisco man has been
arrested and charged by the Alameda County district attorney with
possession of stolen property after investigators discovered the
laptop had been bought over the Internet by a man in South Carolina.
Previous Next "UC police note that while a lab analysis could not
determine whether the sensitive campus data was ever accessed, nothing
in their investigation points to identity theft nor individuals
involved in identity theft. It appears...that the intent was simply to
steal and sell a laptop computer," the university said in its

Forensic tests showed files on the laptop had been erased and written
over with a new operating system installation, leaving only residual
data and making it virtually impossible to determine whether
password-protected files had been breached, the university said.

"The San Francisco man who was arrested told police it is his practice
to install a new operating system or erase and wipe clean old data
from a computer before posting it for sale online," the university

Story Copyright © 2005 Reuters Limited.

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