The University of Georgia says it is working with state and federal officials to determine if a computer hacker accessed the names and Social Security numbers of more than 1,600 current and former employees.

Most of the employees work in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, one of the largest of the university's 15 colleges, according to Tom Jackson, a UGA spokesman.

However, the breach may also affect others who have received payments from the college, he said.

University officials believe 2,429 Social Security numbers were exposed, but say many of those were duplicated numbers, which likely drops the number exposed by one-third.

The university discovered the illegal queries, which apparently came from outside the United States, on Sept. 19. It immediately took steps to block this sort of exploitation, said Jackson.

An investigation is under way to determine precisely which information may have been exposed. However, school officials say the database did not contain credit-card information.

''The irony is that the breach occurred while the university is trying to do away with using Social Security numbers,'' Jackson said.

This article was first published on internetnews.com. To read the full article, click here. Although the school has begun the laborious task of using alternative forms for identifying students and staff, the process of changing records for 33,405 students 9,300 staff members will take some time, Jackson said.