NUIG undergo potential data breach

Roisin Phelan

NUIG underwent a potential data breach after a usb went missing containing personal student information.

A Lost USB stick has caused a potential breach of student data in the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG).

NUIG’s Data Protection Officer said, “the device was mislaid and is now presumed lost.”

According to a statement published on the university’s website by the officer, “the University is unclear on the contents of the portable device, it may have held a file containing names of approximately five per cent of the student body, their student number and exam results.”

“The University has taken into account the seriousness of the issue” and has reported the matter to the Office of the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who has “issued guidance” to NUIG.

The five per cent of students who may have been affected by the breach have been contacted by the university and made aware of the matter.

In response to the loss of USB and potential data breach, the university is planning to, “undertake a review and then implement further measures to seek to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.”

NUIG Students’ Union President Megan Kelly said, “We are going to ensure that students are part of the review process so that a breach like this doesn’t happen again.”

NUIG’s potential breach comes soon after a data breach at Trinity College in which the personal information of 168 students was accidentally attached by an email. The students were sports scholarship applicants and the breach of their data meant recipients of the email could access information about the applicant’s abilities, faults and status in the programme.

TCD also reported this incident to the Office of the Irish Data Protection Officer.

Computer Science student at NUIG, Jennifer Murray told The College View, “I think a lot of the student body are unaware of breach of data and the consequences that could come if it landed in the wrong hands”.  She added that NUIG should, “issue a major apology… and make adjustments to ensure a mistake like this won’t happen again with our data.”

Roisin Phelan

Image credit: Heirloom Films