A laptop containing the names and Social Security numbers of some 45,000 Cornell University students and faculty members has been stolen, The Cornell Daily Sun reports.
The computer was stolen earlier this month, when a university employee was correcting file-processing transmission errors and left the computer unattended.
In a press release, the university said it will offer a year’s worth of free credit reports, credit monitoring, and identity-theft protection to anyone affected.
On a separate Web page, the university said it would not provide any additional information on the theft, as local police are investigating the incident.
Aaron Lewis, a New York State police investigator, told The Sun that the theft appeared to be a “crime of opportunity,” not a concerted effort to steal sensitive information. He said the media attention devoted to the theft could inform the thief of the sensitive information contained on the laptop. “It’s obviously a Cornell computer and has a Cornell sticker,” he said. —Marc Beja