Social insurance numbers among leaked personal data of thousands of NorQuest students, alumni
EDMONTON -- NorQuest College says the personal information, including social insurance numbers, of thousands of students and alumni was leaked in a February data breach.
The leak occurred on Feb. 24 when a college employee emailed a document containing confidential student information to their personal email address and then back to their NorQuest account for work purposes.
The leak includes the social insurance numbers of approximately 5,000 individuals and the names, home addresses, programs of study and student identification numbers of approximately 11,000 people, according to the school.
On March 12, NorQuest sent an email to those whose social insurance numbers were leaked.
"We have no evidence that your information has been shared or accessed by anyone outside of NorQuest," reads the letter.
"But in full transparency, we wanted you to be aware of this incident, and we apologize."
The school says the employee was authorized to possess the personal information but broke NorQuest's data security policy when he or she sent the information through a personal email.
"The email was captured by the college’s Compliance Office almost immediately and the event is considered to be solely a human error," reads the school's letter.
"We believe the risk of your information being exposed to individuals outside the college to be very small."
NorQuest says it has notified all affected students on the advice of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. It also says it's also "notified and provided education" to the employee.
"We are also taking steps internally to provide remedial information and security training to employees and review our policies and permissions to prevent similar, future transfers of personal information."
The school advised those affected to get a credit report and set up a fraud or identity alert.