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Thousands at risk of ID theft in latest UA hacking attack

More than 9,000 former law students and applicants at the University of Arizona are at risk of identity theft after UA’s latest computer security breach.

Their names and Social Security numbers were compromised in a hacking incident in late July.

The FBI is investigating the breach, a UA news release said Wednesday.

Those potentially affected are being offered a year of credit monitoring at university expense.

UA has systems in place to protect private data. In this case, the data was stored “in error” on a server that hosted the public website of the UA’s College of Law, the news release said.

The intruder may have gained access to old class rosters and law school applicant lists, it said.

At the time, UA used Social Security numbers as personal identifiers, but that practice was discontinued several years ago, it said.

“We are responsible and we’re going to do what it takes to minimize harm,” said Chris Sigurdson,  UA’s senior communications advisor.

So far, officials aren’t aware of anyone having their identity stolen as a result of the breach. But “we can’t take a chance,” Sigurdson said.

The university is trying to reach those affected by sending out personal letters. The College of Law also has set up a toll-free number, 1-877-522-7970, for more information.

The July incident marks the third time in less than two years that UA has announced breaches of its computer systems.

About 7,700 people had personal data exposed to hackers in February and March 2012 after thet UA mistakenly put it online during an upgrade of the school’s financial systems.

In October 2012, a hacker group broke into systems at the UA and dozens of universities around the world but did not appear to do harm, officials said at the time.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at or 573-4138.

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Carol Ann has been with the Star since 1999, but has been an investigative reporter for more than 30 years. She's won numerous awards in the U.S. and Canada. In 2003, she was a war correspondent in Iraq and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow in Michigan in 2008.

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