Hackers have made away with and spilled online the personal details, including bank account numbers, of about 240 former Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) students.
The school has reported the incident to the police and has begun an internal investigation into the matter, Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday. The police said its investigations are ongoing.
Those affected are from NYP's 1994 to 1999 batches.
A marketing executive, who wanted to be known only as Mr Ow, 33, told Wanbao that he received a letter from NYP about an unauthorised access to data on the school's computer system. The school later said this was discovered late on Jan 14.
In the letter dated Feb 5, NYP said that some data had been copied and posted online. But the school was able to remove the data from the site it was found on.
"The copied data is in the form of student admission numbers and the names and numbers of bank accounts linked to a limited number of our former students for Giro payment of school fees," said NYP's principal Chan Lee Mun in the letter. He apologised, saying NYP took the incident "very seriously".
An NYP spokesman said a loophole in the school's system has since been patched and that no other systems were compromised. Checks on NYP's internal system logs also showed that no other data had been leaked.
Affected alumni, such as Mr Ow, were advised to contact their banks on precautionary measures they could take, and be vigilant of suspicious or unusual activity involving their accounts.
The school is also working with a forensics firm to conduct an independent investigation and vulnerability scan, "so as to look into how our processes and systems can be strengthened", said NYP's spokesman.
She added: "We will continue to monitor the situation and take the necessary steps to prevent a similar incident from happening again."
For Mr Ow, the bank account number stolen by hackers was for the account his mother used to pay his school fees. She has called her bank for help and is checking for suspicious transactions.
Mr Ow also posted about the data leak on Facebook and said other former students have been trying to contact NYP. They were worried that they did not get the school's letter mailed to them because they had moved.
"In the rapidly growing digital age we live in, schools and organisations need to be more vigilant in protecting students' and customers' data," said Mr Ow.