NorQuest College has warned that the personal information of thousands of students and alumni was potentially leaked due to a data breach incident last month.
The Edmonton, AB-based community college said that the leak occurred on February 24. On that day, a college employee emailed a document with confidential student information to their personal email address, and then back to their NorQuest account for work purposes.
The information attached to the email included the social insurance numbers of about 5,000 individuals, as well as the names, home addresses, programs of study, and student ID numbers of approximately 11,000 people, CTV News reported.
According to NorQuest, the employee was authorized to posses the personal information, but they also broke the school’s data security policy.
NorQuest sent an email notification to those whose social insurance numbers were compromised on March 12.
"We have no evidence that your information has been shared or accessed by anyone outside of NorQuest," the college said in its email.
"But in full transparency, we wanted you to be aware of this incident, and we apologize."
Affected students were also advised to get a credit report, as well as to set up a fraud or identity alert.
NorQuest also said that the employee’s email was captured by its Compliance Office “almost immediately,” and that the data breach event was considered “solely a human error.”
"We believe the risk of your information being exposed to individuals outside the college to be very small,” the college added in its email statement.
In addition to notifying all affected students about the potential leak, NorQuest said that it has taken steps to offer remedial information and security training to its employees, and that it would review its current policies to prevent a similar event in the future.