WCSD warns of student data breach

Published: Jul. 31, 2019 at 9:16 AM PDT
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The Washoe County School District is warning about a data security incident.

The data breach affects some 114,000 students who attended Washoe County Schools between 2001 and 2016. The district says the names and birth dates of those students may have been exposed by the data lapse, but no other identifying information was released.

Many parents and guardians surprised that this happened.

"As far as their information goes it's pretty saddening how like people would hack into these account you know what I mean?" Antonio Madrigal, a guardian of a WCSD student, says.

WCSD says the problem was with a contractor, Pearson Clinical Assessment. One of Pearson's older systems, AIMSweb, was accessed by an unauthorized third party.

A small number of staff members may also have been affected, with the release of their names and email address.

Another parent of two, Francis Mullen says this is also a breach of trust.

"If the school district can't protect my children's information then it makes me feel like the district isn't being responsible with their information because they're kids you've got to protect them and if the school isn't doing that then it's a problem," Mullen says.

The District says the incident happened in November 2018, but WCSD was only notified on July 24, 2019.

“While WCSD would like to individually reach out to every person impacted by this breach, the information is old and not specific enough for the District to identify exactly who has been impacted,” said Alan Cunningham, Information Security Officer for WCSD. “Because the information in question was generated so long ago, many of these students are no longer in our schools. In addition, the type of information is so limited, it is difficult to identify any of the students impacted. However we are issuing this notification out of an abundance of caution so families and individuals are aware of the potential release of this information.”

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