Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NUS Apologises to Alumnus for Leak in Data

Dear Alumnus/Alumna,

The news recently carried stories of a breach in data security at the NUS Career Centre on 1 April 2009. An email sent to some 900 alumni inviting them to a recruitment event inadvertently included an Excel spreadsheet with information of about 16,000 alumni, a portion of our alumni graduating between 1993 and 2008. The staff responsible for sending out the email attached the Excel spreadsheet to perform a 'mail merge' function. Unfortunately, the staff forgot to delete the Excel spreadsheet before the email was sent out. This particular spreadsheet contained names, faculties, degrees conferred, year of graduation, contact numbers, mailing and email addresses.

The University expresses our deepest apologies for the unintentional distribution of your personal information. Upon detecting the slipup, the staff responsible for the security lapse immediately recalled the email, though a blanket recall was regrettably unachievable. Associate Professor Tan Teck Koon, NUS Dean of Students, immediately followed up by sending an email to the recipients to apologise for the oversight and for any anxiety and inconvenience caused. All recipients were also asked to disregard the confidential file and not further circulate or use it.

We would like to assure you that such lapses are taken very seriously. While this may be an isolated incident, necessary measures have been taken to prevent any recurrences. The staff responsible for the oversight has also been counselled and disciplined. In addition to conducting a university-wide review on information security, all faculty and staff have been informed to evaluate alternative transmission means prior to sending restricted or confidential information electronically. All future mass emails will also be proofread by at least one other staff before they are sent out. Other measures implemented include encryption of restricted emails as well as password protection of confidential data files.

The University deeply regrets this unfortunate incident, and seeks your utmost understanding and patience. If you have further queries, please feel free to contact Avis Wong, Head of Marketing Communications from our Office of Alumni Relations, at tel: 6516 5521 or email:

Yours sincerely

Prof Tan Eng Chye
Deputy President and Provost
National University of Singapore

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