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USC says database hacked

A University of Southern California database containing about 270,000 records of past applicants including their names and Social Security numbers was hacked last month, officials said on Tuesday.

The breach of the university's online application database exposed "dozens" of records to unauthorized individuals, said Katharine Harrington, USC dean of admissions and financial aid.

She could not be more specific about the number of people whose personal data may have been viewed by the hacker or hackers or what their motivation was for the computer break-in.

"There was not a sufficiently precise tracking capability," Harrington said, but added that the hackers had not been able to access multiple records at once. Records were also only able to be viewed at random, she said.

"We are quite confident that there was no massive downloading of data," Harrington said.

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