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Hackers threaten donor information at Notre Dame

Hackers broke into a computer system at the University of Notre Dame earlier this month, and may have accessed personal and financial information of donors, according to a school spokeswoman.

Hilary Crnkovich, Notre Dame's vice president of public affairs declined to disclose how many donors may be at risk in an interview with CNET, but said that the hackers may have made off with Social Security numbers, credit card information and check images.

"The (computer) server that was potentially affected, was taken off line immediately," Crnkovich said. "The university continues to explore safeguards and precautions to ensure something like this doesn't happen in the future."

Any donors whose checks were received between Nov. 22, 2005, and Jan. 12, 2006, may be at risk, according to Crnkovich. The school has notified the donors involved.

Two Internet security firms were hired to help determine what information the intruders may have pilfered.

Notre Dame isn't alone among the nation's universities to be targeted by hackers. In May, Stanford University said that its computer security was breached, putting the personal information of nearly 10,000 at risk. Last July, a hacker breached a server at the University of Connecticut that stored the personal information of 72,000 students, faculty and staff.