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updated 8/11/2011 9:01:10 PM ET 2011-08-12T01:01:10

The Social Security numbers (SSNs) of 75,000 past and present students and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee may have been exposed in a massive data breach.

In a statement posted on its website, the university explained that on June 30, malware was found on one of its servers hosting a database containing student and staff names, SSNs and "other files containing personal data." The infected database did not store any financial information.

Although the network intrusion potentially left a massive amount of personal information open to theft and manipulation, the university suspects that the malware planter's motives were not financial, as no evidence was found of attempts to download the exposed names and SSNs.

"There is no evidence that the unauthorized individuals were aware of your personal data in the compromised database or that it has been retrieved," the university wrote.

The tech site Gizmodo suggested, "this sounds like it could be an instance of academic espionage, rather than LulzSec-style data snatching."

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is working with local and federal law enforcement to determine the source and extent of the breach, and has instructed its students to monitor their bank and credit card statements to make sure no one is toying with their personal information.

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