KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Oak Ridge National Laboratory revealed today that a "sophisticated cyber attack" over the last few weeks may have allowed personal information about thousands of lab visitors to be stolen.
Lab officials said the assault appeared "to be part of a coordinated attempt to gain access to computer networks at numerous laboratories and other institutions across the country."
Oak Ridge officials would not identify the other institutions.
But at Oak Ridge, they say, hackers may have infiltrated a non-classified database containing names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of every lab visitor between 1990 and 2004.
The lab estimates 3,000 researchers annually come to the facility, a major DOE energy research and high-performance computing center.
Officials stressed that no classified data was compromised.
The lab has sent letters to about 12,000 potential victims.
The assault was in the form of phony e-mails containing attachments, which when opened allowed hackers to penetrate the lab's computer security.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)