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Data for 43,000 at Yale winds up in Google search results

SNAFU discovered after FTP added to index

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Yale University has warned 43,000 people that their names and Social Security numbers were publicly accessible for 10 months to anyone with an internet connection.

According to The Yale Daily News, the sensitive information was stored on an FTP server that was primarily used to store open-source materials. The mistake came to light only after Google introduced a change to its search index that included the contents of FTP servers.

Members of Yale's Information Technology Services didn't learn of the change until June 30.

There's no way of knowing how many people may have accessed the data, so Yale is offering those whose information was exposed free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance. Those affected were affiliated with the university in 1999.

Until now, the change to Google's search engine has largely gone unnoticed. With little attention paid to the contents stored on untold numbers of FTP servers, there's no telling what other sensitive data is only a search query away. ®

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