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Hacker hits Duke U

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Security

A hacker broke into the Duke University Medical Center computer system last week, stealing thousands of passwords and fragments of Social Security numbers, Duke officials said Friday.

Duke is notifying about 14,000 people, roughly 10,000 of whom are medical center employees, that their information may have been compromised and is advising people to change passwords if they use the same one for multiple purposes.

Other individuals affected include alumni of the Duke University School of Medicine, physicians and other clinicians who registered online for some types of continuing medical education at Duke and others who accessed certain Web pages maintained by the medical school.

The incident is the latest in a series of security breaches nationally at banks and other major organizations that store personal information. This is one of the largest yet to hit the Triangle.

None of the Duke computer databases broken into contained personal financial data or patient information, according to the medical center. The hacker did grab about 5,500 computer passwords and the users' first and last names. In addition, the hacker stole about 9,000 partial Social Security numbers -- either the last four digits or the last six digits.

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