An exclusive Oxbridge club has warned its members about a data breach, after private information was stolen from the society’s headquarters in London on 16 November.
The Oxford and Cambridge Club wrote to its 5000 members this week, cautioning them about “suspicious activity” on bank accounts after the theft.
The stolen data reportedly contains the names of members, their phone numbers, and home addresses. In some cases, bank details are also reported to have been stolen.
The stolen data includes private information from the actor Stephen Fry, and Lord Rees, the Astronomer Royal. 100 staff members are also reportedly included in the data.
The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh are also members of the select society. It is currently understood that their data was not compromised in the breach.
The Sunday Telegraph reported that the theft had been noticed on 16 November but was only reported in recent days. The large data drive was allegedly stolen from a locked room within the club’s headquarters.
In a letter obtained by The Times, the club secretary wrote: “We have been advised that we should write to confirm that there may have been a data breach at the Club which could possibly result in disclosure of your personal data held on the Club computer system.
“This situation has arisen as a result of the theft of a storage disk, and not as a breach of the cyber security system, and although the data contained on the disk is protected by multiple layers of security and heavy password protection, we have been advised by data specialists that there is a very remote chance that information could be obtained.
“As this could potentially enable identity theft, the management felt that members should be informed as a duty of care.”
The club was established in 1830 and provides facilities for Oxbridge graduates. Membership is limited to those who have received degrees, honorary degrees, or MAs from Oxford or Cambridge, and those who have been members of a college or hall.
Membership of the club comes through election and costs up to £1,250 per year. Youth membership, for those 24 or under, costs up to £312.50 per year depending on where the member lives.
The Metropolitan Police have been informed of the theft, and the club has reportedly employed private investigators to aid the recovery of the drive.