Smiley Face Emoticon Triggers Florida International Univ. Data Scare

Ann McClure's picture

Thousands of students at Florida International University are hoping their personal information is not used against them after being informed of a possible security breach of the university's computer system.

An undergraduate education database containing 19,500 current and former students' names, social security numbers, birth dates, and grade point averages was discovered to be unsecured when university officials found someone had typed a smiley face emoticon on the database's internal website.

Students and alumni who took the College-Level Academic Skills Test and other standardized exams during a multi-year period were informed in letters that their personal details may have been "inappropriately accessed."

"This is private business, you know what I mean?" said student Cesar Mejia. "If your GPA is low and you're trying your hardest to get your GPA up, do you really want somebody else to, like, look at your personal information? This is your personal information!"

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