Commack administrators grapple with data hack

Commack administrators grapple with data hack

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School district says ‘unauthorized person’ compromised vital student records like ID numbers, home addresses

Student data within Commack school district may have been compromised after an unauthorized person accessed records, the district said this week.

A statement posted on the district’s website outlined the potential data breach, calling it a potential release of high school student data, but cautioned that there was no concrete evidence that specific student data was downloaded. The district said the unauthorized party might have gained access to student ID numbers, names, addresses, contact information and schedules, but specified that social security numbers were not in jeopardy.

The district went public with the data breach alert on Sept. 17 and said it was important to make parents aware of the potential release of information, despite any evidence proving specific data was downloaded. As of the time of the initial post, Commack officials said the breach likely only applied to a very limited number of high school student records.

“Upon learning of the breach, the district immediately contacted the Suffolk County Police Department,” the statement said. “The district is working with the police department, and the police have moved forward to identify the person responsible.”

Commack’s tech department also bulked up the district’s data protection protocols by adding additional security features to student management systems, restoring any altered schedules and implementing a 24-hour active monitoring program. The current 24-hour monitoring system also showed no additional unauthorized attempts to access student data at this point, the district said.

In addition to working with the Suffolk County Police Department and conducting an internal security review, the district said it was also in the process of hiring an outside technology company to conduct a full electronic security review of the district’s student management system and networks in an effort to ensure systems are as secure as possible. Any additional updates will be brought to the public’s attention as developments occur, the district said.

“Please be assured that the district takes very seriously the protection of private student data, and actively monitors our networks,” the district said in a statement. “We continue to work to ensure that the district takes the steps necessary to prevent this type of incident in the future.”