MU Databases Protect Private Information of Faculty, Students and Staff

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COLUMBIA - In light of the national security leak that exposed several massive governmental surveillance programs, the Division of Information and Technology at MU assures students, staff and faculty that their private information will not be monitored or exposed anytime soon.

Division of IT Marketing and Strategic Planning Director Terry Robb said data protection is practiced everyday at their facility.

"Because of the illegal environment in today's society", said Robb. "We make sure students' infromation are protected and even patients' information are protected everyday."

In 2007, hackers accessed a University of Missouri computer database and stole more than 20,000 social security numbers. The hackers used IP addresses from China and Australia to steal the data, but no evidence that any of the data has been misused was ever found.

Throughout all four campuses under the University of Missouri system, the Division of IT encrypts all students, faculty and staff's information on its database. This prevents people from intercepting or reading private information.

"All sensitive data are encrypted within the server," said Robb. "So not just anyone can read information. Only those who have access to a particular application can read the encryption." 

Since the 2007 breach, the Division of IT created a "vault" to protect social security numbers from being hacked digitally.

MU Graduate Student Amanda Edgar said she never worried about her information being exposed.

"I always assumed my information would be protected," said Edgar. "But if private information like grades or medical records were leaked, I think it would be really problematic." 

Robb said Division of IT staff are trained every couple of years to ensure student, staff and faculty data are protected.