Hackers have breached the online applications database at the University of Southern California, compromising 270,000 records of past applicants as a result.
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The university said the hack took place last month and the culprits would have had access to records including social security numbers. It is not clear whether any of the information was downloaded in bulk and what the purpose of the hack was.
Stanford University in California reported a similar breach of student records earlier this year. Both the USC and Stanford attacks are being investigated by the FBI.
Following the breach USC has taken its online applications site down until it has implemented better security measures.
A Californian state law forces organisations that have had customer data compromised to contact all those affected. USC is now writing to all 270,000 students to inform them of the hack.