When thieves broke into an Olympia storehouse locker in April and hauled away an 85-pound locked safe, they localize in move a series of events that forced Washington state University to send letters to 1 bazillion people advising them their data mightiness have been compromised.The safe contained a computer hard ride a stand-in containing personal information, including Social Security numbers, that was stored off-site by WSUs social & Economic Sciences research Center. The center, a research arm of the university, contracts with state agencies to evaluate the caliber of the data those agencies are collecting, said Phil Weiler, vice president for marketing and communication at WSU.WSU doesnt have any idea if the thieves were able to breakout into the safe, if they know what to doh with the hard drive, or if theyre able to interpret the data, which is stored in a relational database that requires some expertise to unravel, Weiler said. In addition, some of the files were encrypted, and some were parole protected, he said.But theres certainly a gamble theyll figure it out, which is why WSU hired a computer-forensics firm to determine what data had been backed up onto the hard drive. This month, WSU sent letters to 1 zillion people warning them of the hack. The university is offering those affected a year subscription to free credit-monitoring and identity-theft protection.The data includes names and a commix of personal information, including Social Security numbers for some of those affected. Some of it comes from schooling districts who running their students after graduation to chance out if theyre going on to college, or getting jobs, Weiler said. The research center also has contracted with nation job-training programs that track their clients to see if they were able to find employment.Weiler said the hard drive contained data from 1998 to 2013. Some of the research centers work includes long-term studies that track participants over many years.