Breach, Data Security, Malware, Ransomware

Data breach exposes PII of 700 Texas school children


A Texas Department of Agriculture laptop was hit with ransomware in late October possibly exposing the personal information of 700 students spread over 39 school districts, but some school officials are miffed because they were not promptly informed about the attack.

The Department of Agriculture reported the issue in a notice on Nov. 22 , almost one month after the incident occurred, and The Dallas Morning News is reporting that some school district officials and those in charge of other affected agencies were not directly notified but had to go out and find the information on their own.

The Department of Agriculture told The Dallas Morning News that it had notified all the districts, but some of the emails may have ended up in spam folders adding that the laptop in question was “more subject to malware than it should have been.”

The Department of Agriculture operates the state's federal nutrition program. The information possibly compromised includes Social Security numbers, home addresses, birth dates and personal phone numbers of the students and their families, according to a department statement.

“To date, TDA's Information Security Officer (ISO) has identified more than 700 students whose sensitive personal information was, or is reasonably believed to have been, exposed to acquisition by an unauthorized person. It is important to note that, to date, TDA's ISO has not discovered any evidence to suggest misuse of the information that was compromised by the ransomware exploit,” the department said.

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