Education will alert borrowers to Web glitch

The Education Department is preparing to contact all student borrowers who accessed its loan payment site between Aug. 20 and 22 to tell them that their personal data might have inadvertently been accessible to other users.

Education spokeswoman Jane Glickman said the department is contacting all 21,000 borrowers to inform them of the possible security breach.

“We are urgently working to close out the details of the credit monitoring to include it in the communication to impacted borrowers,” Glickman said.

She did not know of any plans to post the information online, she said.

The 36-hour software malfunction at Affiliated Computer Services, which manages the software that runs Education’s site, left borrowers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses available to others who were logged onto Education’s Federal Direct Loan Program site.

Education and ACS are offering free credit-monitoring services to any borrower whose data was compromised.

“We are experiencing problems with our Web site due to recent software upgrades,” according to a statement on Education’s Federal Student Aid site. “Therefore, we have disabled online payment, address change and certain other online options until we can resolve the issues. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

“We’re not putting any of the Web pages back online until we’re 100 percent satisfied that the problem is resolved and won’t happen again,” Glickman said.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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