Anonymous group releases 1,768 student GPAs


The Appalachian Online

Sammy Hanf

UPDATE: At some point on Saturday AppState Leaks disappeared from social media.

A group called AppState Leaks released the information via their Twitter page of the same name this Thursday. The PDF posted contains student’s first names, majors, year and GPA.

The university’s Information Security Department is currently conducting an investigation into the breach. The university said in a statement there is no indication that any secure databases have been compromised.

James Webb, Chief Information Security Officer, said the information posted was at the level of internal information, the least sensitive category of protected information.

AppState Leaks said via email that the information was posted to demonstrate their capabilities, as they felt they were not being taken seriously by the campus community. The information posted was edited to remove last names and other information that could be used to concretely identify individuals.

AppState Leaks said via email that the information was made available inadvertently by a professor and claimed they released the information to highlight lax university protections for students privacy.

Webb said in a statement that the university successfully averts thousands of threats to secure data every week and takes any possible breaches seriously.

Debbie Race, University Registrar, said that requests for information about student’s GPA are often handled through the Registrar’s office and that it is uncommon for them to disclose a list of a group of student’s numerical GPA.

“What we try to do is whenever possible and usually the requests that we get in the registrar’s office is strictly academic and it is from particular departments or maybe a college or something that is doing awards or scholarships and they’ll say we need this and this and this and the student’s GPA. Our first red flag is to say, do you really need to have the GPA?” Race said.

Webb said they plan to have a report on the investigation done next week.

As of writing the group has removed the tweet linking to the document and it is no longer publicly accessible via Google Drive.

Story by: Sammy Hanf, News Editor