- Associated Press - Monday, November 3, 2014

STURGIS, S.D. (AP) - Meade School District officials say a computer breach that exposed former students’ personal information online was likely caused by an internal error, not a hacker.

The breach exposed the Social Security numbers of hundreds of former students to anyone who logged in to the district’s server. The problem surfaced Thursday when a student logged in and was able to access her father’s transcript, Superintendent Don Kirkegaard told KOTA-TV and the Rapid City Journal.

“We think we just made a mistake and it was an error on our part instead of someone on the outside making it accessible to all,” Kirkegaard said.

“As soon as we could, we took the server offline that housed the transcripts. That was off as early as we could Friday morning,” he said.

The school once used Social Security numbers as student identification numbers. The breach might have affected students who graduated from Sturgis Brown High School from 1997 through 2003.

District officials are eliminating Social Security numbers from student transcripts and contacting former students.

“We will tell them we are hoping that it was just an error on our part, and that they should continue to monitor their personal information,” Kirkegaard said.

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