Breach, Data Security, Vulnerability Management

Data breach of Long Island school district affects thousands of students

Roughly 15,000 students enrolled in 18 Long Island elementary, middle and high schools – comprising the Sachem School District – may have had personal data compromised by an unidentified individual who posted the information on an online forum.

How many victims? Roughly 15,000. 

What type of personal information? Posted on the forum was a list of 15,000 names with student ID numbers and school lunch designations, student records on 360 students who graduated Sachem High School East in 2008, and a report relating to approximately 130 students who attended Sachem High School North who were receiving instructional services in an alternate setting in the 2010-2011 year, the district confirmed.

On a separate forum, a concerned user posted about having seen medical records, doctor's letters, report cards, district registration documents that include names, addresses, dates of birth and parent information, and disciplinary records.

What happened? On separate occasions, student documents were posted on an online forum by someone who claimed the Sachem School District database had been hacked.

What was the response? Sachem School District audited its firewalls and intrusion detection systems. The website that hosted the forum has been contacted and has removed any posts containing school data. The school district is mailing letters to affected families. An investigation is ongoing with local and federal law enforcement.

Details: Sachem School District first became aware in July that school documents were being posted online. An official investigation into the schools' firewalls and intrusion detection systems revealed that a breach did not originate from the outside. Additional information was posted online in August and again a breach was not deemed to have originated from the outside. Student information was posted most recently on Nov. 8.

Quote: “The district has devoted every available resource to cooperate with and to assist law enforcement,” according to a post on the Sachem School District website. “Access to student records is an important daily internal function of any school district. This is a necessity, but can unfortunately render our data vulnerable to a determined criminal actor willing to misuse access to our systems.”

Source:, “Regarding the theft of student data,” Nov. 19, 2013

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