Dallas Data Breach Exposed 10-Year Information of Students, Teachers, and Parents

Photo: (Photo : Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

A serious data breach has transpired at a Dallas public school district, which may have exposed the personal information of students, teachers, and parents for the last ten years.

The Dallas Independent School District, the second-largest school district in Texas, confirmed the data breach in a public statement and stated that investigations with federal law enforcement officials are currently underway. The investigators are also working double time to contain the exposure.

Reports cited that the breach took place on August 8, where an unauthorized person managed to download data that included the contact information, birthdays, grades, and Social Security numbers in school records dating back to 2010. So far, however, the district hasn't received any reports of identity theft due to the exposure.

"At this time, it appears the affected information has been contained and that none of it has been shared or sold," the statement read, which also included the school district's apology.

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Thousands of Information Compromised

The Dallas Independent School District has over 22,222 workers spread out across 230 schools and a current student body of 153,861 kids. They offered a hotline number -- (855) 651-2605 -- for any alumni or former staff who might have questions about the data breach.

The district will also be informing individuals whose profiles and personal data may have been compromised and will be provided access to credit monitoring for 12 months. The victims may also be extended ID theft recovery services.

Kroll, an identity protection agency, will help with finding solutions to this incident while school district officials said they would conduct a comprehensive system review, as well as install added security measures to prevent a repeat of the breach.

In recent years, schools across the U.S. have been vulnerable to data breaches. According to a Government Accountability Office report, over 287 school districts have had comprised data from July 2016 to May 2020.

Over the summer, Judson Independent School District in San Antonio had to pay over $500,000 in ransom money following a cyber-attack. The money was meant to restore important data and prevent personal information from being exposed.

However, technology experts said they would know the full impact of the attack in the coming months. It takes a long time to process, determine and confirm if a third party took any information.

Data Breach in Dallas

Meanwhile, ABC News reported that the Dallas Independent School District data breach is the second information technology breakdown in the county this year. In August, an information technician at the local police department who was migrating files accidentally deleted police crime data, including case notes, video and audio recordings, and various information gathered by detectives.

More than half of the data has been recovered, and the staff was fired for the oversight. However, the technology breakdown resulted in the postponement of a murder trial due to the lost data. The suspect in the trial was also granted bail.

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