July 16, 2019

Employee data protections offered after laptop theft

Starting Feb. 19, a new layer of security will be added to campus email accounts.


The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is assisting employees whose personal information may have been compromised following a laptop theft.

With assistance from the Wisconsin-based legal firm Michael Best, notification letters about the incident have been sent to nearly 900 individuals, including current and former Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources employees. The letters, which offer those affected access to one year of identity theft protection via Experian IdentityWorks, were signed by Michael Boehm, vice chancellor for IANR.

“The security of our employees’ personal information is among our highest concerns,” Boehm said. “We’re going to thoroughly review our processes to determine what happened here and the appropriate steps moving forward. In the meantime, our priority is taking care of our employees.”

The theft occurred while a consultant who helps manage IANR employee retirement benefits was on vacation in Rome, Italy, in June. Due to the nature of the consultant’s work, the laptop contained employee names, Social Security numbers, home addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and financial account information. All files on the laptop were password-protected but not encrypted.

The consultant notified both the University of Nebraska–Lincoln police as well as authorities in Rome of the theft.

At this time, there is no indication that the employee data has been used maliciously. The university continues to monitor all systems and has changed all passwords to which the consultant had access. Sensitive information has also been removed from the consultant’s replacement laptop.

“We urge our colleagues to report any suspicious activity on their accounts, and to take advantage of the identity protection services we are offering out of an abundance of caution,” Boehm said.

Individuals who received letters may activate the Experian IdentityWorks service using the instructions and activation code provided in the letter from Boehm. Those individuals should also monitor their credit reports for accounts they did not open or inquiries from creditors they did not initiate, and immediately report activity they do not recognize. They should also review their financial account statements for discrepancies or unusual activity.

For more information, university employees can send email to privacyinquiry@nebraska.edu or call 877-641-0015.