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FBI site to aid UCLA hacker probe

December 16, 2006|Rebecca Trounson | Times Staff Writer

The FBI on Friday asked those who have learned that their names are in a recently compromised UCLA database -- and who have reason to believe they may be victims of identity theft -- to contact a special FBI website to submit a report.

UCLA announced this week that hackers had gained access to a central database containing information on about 800,000 people, including current and former students, faculty and staff members. Others potentially affected include some student applicants and some parents of students or applicants who filed paperwork for financial aid.

Campus officials said the computer attack, which began in October 2005 and ended last month, exposed records containing names, Social Security numbers and birthdates for at least some of those affected. The officials have said that the university had no evidence so far that any of the information was misused.

Jim Davis, UCLA's associate vice chancellor for information technology, said this week that university investigators believe "less than 5%" of the database's individual records, or those for up to 40,000 people, are at somewhat greater risk than the rest of having been accessed for personal information. But he said he could not yet be more specific.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Friday that the agency is asking those who are in the UCLA database and who believe they may be victims of identity theft or fraud to contact the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Eimiller said those who sign on to the site will be asked to provide details about their affiliation with UCLA, as well as a Social Security number and date of birth. "This will provide an exclusive forum at which victims can report fraudulent activity and help provide a comprehensive analysis for the investigation," she said.

The university sent e-mail or letters this week to those in the database for whom it had contact information, but there are at least 200,000 whose records were outdated, spokesman Phil Hampton said.

UCLA has also established a website to provide information and answer questions about the incident: www.identityalert.ucla.edu.

Operators at a toll-free hotline, (877) 533-8082, can tell callers whether their records are in the database.

By 5 p.m. Friday, the hotline had answered about 26,000 calls, Hampton said. By 3:30 p.m., the website had received 86,270 individual visitors, he said.

rebecca.trounson@latimes.com

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