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updated 6/4/2012 3:03:56 PM ET 2012-06-04T19:03:56

The University of Nebraska is investigating a data breach that compromised the personal records of as many as 650,000 current and former students dating back to 1985.

The university said in an advisory that the "sophisticated and skilled attack" targeted the university's Student Information System (NeSIS) database, which holds Social Security numbers, addresses, grades, transcripts and housing data for current and former students, as well as those who applied to NU but did not attend.

The NeSIS has been in place for about two years, but the records stored date back to 1985. In addition to names and Social Security numbers, the hacked database also contained the confidential information of parents, students and NU employees who applied for financial aid at the university's four main campuses. The total number of affected individuals could be as high as 650,000, Nebraska Radio Network said.

University staff discovered the huge data breach last Wednesday night (May 23), and "took immediate corrective action to stop the breach and prevent further unauthorized access to individuals' personal information." The university said that it is working with local and federal law enforcement agencies to determine the scope of the breach, and that so far it has received no reports of identity theft linked to the breach.

The university said that credit card numbers are not kept in the NeSIS database, "so this information was not compromised in the breach." However, the university is informing current and former students to monitor their bank accounts and report any suspicious or unauthorized activity.

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