Michigan Community College May Have Lost SSNs in Hack

JACKSON, Mich. -- A hacker who broke into the computer system at Jackson Community College may have accessed as many as 8,000 Social Security numbers, the college said Monday.

The hacker broke into the system Wednesday. College officials are still investigating but say the hacker may have downloaded employee and student passwords. The college has long used Social Security numbers as default passwords for setting up computer accounts.

Jim Jones, the college's director of information technology services, said people are encouraged to change their passwords but often continue to use their Social Security numbers.

"We don't think that Social Security numbers have been compromised, but we don't know for sure. We want to err on the side of caution," Jones said in a statement. "We don't have any way of knowing what they have been able to do."

The college said it was sending new passwords to employees and students starting Monday, along with information on preventing identity theft. The new passwords will be a combination of numbers, letters and punctuation marks.