A laptop computer belonging to a Pepperdine University employee that contained confidential information was stolen last week. The computer was used for work related to the IRS and had information dating back to 2008 that involved as many as 8,300 campus community members, 75 percent of whom are students, the Pepperdine Graphic reported.
The university reported the theft to local law enforcement and started an investigation of its own.
Pepperdine President Andrew K. Benton sent out a statement confirming the theft to the university community Dec. 7. He explained that while the thief could have just wanted the laptop, they are preparing for the worst case scenario. According to the Graphic, the laptop was not encrypted and the confidential information stored on an unencrypted computer is susceptible to an information breach. The university has identified the names that are at risk and has contacted identity theft experts.
“I am writing merely to say that I am sorry this happened. I am also sobered by the reality of losses like this that are certainly not inevitable, but are not uncommon,” Benton wrote in an email to the university community. “The most important thing we can do right now is to communicate what we know, and also to give timely and thorough information to those individuals who have been impacted.”