The New York DOE (department of education) cut ties with Illuminate Education after a mass data breach was found in March.
Illuminate is an education software company that creates applications that track students' grades and attendance. Some of these apps include Skedula and Pupil path.
The DOE recently announced an official statement informing parents that hackers accessed confidential student information databases without permission between December 28, 2021, and January 8, 2022. An estimated 820,000 current and former students across 24 districts and 18 charter schools in NYC have been affected. Other states like Colorado, Connecticut, Oklahoma, and California have also been affected.
The information that was composed pertained to the students' names, date of birth, ethnicities, student IDs, and students' special education and lunch status. Luckily, their social security and financial information was not stolen.
DOE Chancellor David C. Banks expressed his sentiments on the matter, "We are outraged that Illuminate represented to us and schools that legally required, industry-standard critical safeguards were in place when they were not. We have demanded and will be independently verifying claims that Illuminate has increased protection," he said.
New York officials are accusing Illuminate of failing to use protective measures to ensure the encryption of student personal information. For months the company has claimed that they have followed all precautionary measures. Many are scared of another potential data breach after investigators found that Illuminate did not inform any of the affected schools while the attacks lasted for months.
According to a statement made by Illuminate to theJournal in March they said, "We recently completed the investigation regarding unauthorized access of our systems and determined that some personal information was involved,"
"We are in the process of notifying customers that may have been affected. There is no evidence of any fraudulent or illegal activity related to this incident. The security of the data we have in our care is one of our highest priorities, and we have already taken important steps to help prevent this from happening again. Please note that we do not store financial information or Social Security numbers on our systems, so these types of information were not affected." they said.
Teachers, students, and guardians have all been sent letters regarding the matter in late May, but it has left many parents feeling vulnerable.
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