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Donors flood University phones

Heather Van Hoegarden | Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On the first business day after Notre Dame announced a Development Office server security breach, the University received hundreds of phone calls about the incident University vice president of Public Affairs and Communication Hilary Crnkovich said Monday.

Many of the calls on Monday were to confirm that the incident did actually happen, Crnkovich said.

Meanwhile, investigation of how exactly the server was hacked into continued Monday.

“I don’t think our forensic experts have had an opportunity to do full-circle analysis,” Crnkovich said Monday afternoon. “That’s still ongoing, so we probably need a little more time there. I would give them a little bit more time to do their due diligence.”

Crnkovich said that between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, about 200 people called the toll-free helpline set up by the University to facilitate concerns about the breach. Most, she said, were calling to make sure the e-mail they received from the University was not fake.

“The calls are going well,” Crnkovich. “The majority of them this morning, interestingly enough, were people confirming that it was real and that it wasn’t a hoax. It’s been pretty positive so far. So we hope it stays that way.”

She also said that the University has had no convincingly negative phone calls from donors who are upset to the point of threatening not to donate to the University as a result of this security breach.

“To the best of my knowledge, we have had no real persuasively negative confrontations,” Crnkovich said.

On Monday, the University had an estimate of how many donors were affected, but that information will not be released to the public, according to Crnkovich.

“We do [have a count of those affected], but we’re going to keep it confidential,” she said. “Whenever an individual, even one individual, could be affected by something, the number of people who could have been affected isn’t really part of the overall story. If one person’s affected, that’s all that really matters. And the numbers aren’t really of any use to anyone.”

The University has also trained individuals to address concerns posed by donors whose information may have been viewed by the intruder.

“We have a number of people who work in the development office trained to talk with the people who could potentially have been affected,” Crnkovich said.