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University of Tasmania IT bungle leads to mass student data breach

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 21/09/2020 Mark Saunokonoko

Nearly 20,000 University of Tasmania (UTAS) students have had their personal information exposed to the entire campus after a major IT bungle.

The data contained "personally identifiable information" of students at the university.

UTAS told 9News in a statement there was "no evidence" malicious activity had caused the data breach.

a sign on the side of a building: The University of Tasmania said almost 20,000 students had been affected after a mass data breach. © Nine The University of Tasmania said almost 20,000 students had been affected after a mass data breach.

The mistake was blamed on security settings on shared files which were "unintentionally configured incorrectly" which had "made the information visible and accessible to unauthorised users".

UTAS said the data that was breached "is used to inform the ways the university supports students in their studies".

It gave no further details about the specifics of that data.

The identifiable data was sent to all users with a utas.edu.au email address, UTAS confirmed.

The university spent this morning contacting all of the affected 19,900 students.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Rufus Black said the university had responded quickly to secure the information.

Independent experts had also been called on to assist, he said.

"We contacted every student affected by this incident to explain what had happened, to apologise and to offer support," Prof. Black said.

The university has notified the privacy regulator, the Australian Information Commissioner.

More to come

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