Reeds Spring School District faces data breach, informs employees and families

The Reeds Spring School District disclosed that it had fallen victim to a sophisticated cyber attack, which led to unauthorized access and acquisition of district and personal data.

The breach potentially exposed sensitive information, including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, health insurance details, and class lists. The incident was initially detected on May 18, as revealed in a three-page letter sent to affected families.

The district immediately launched an investigation, enlisting the expertise of external cybersecurity professionals, and determined on September 28 that the breach likely occurred within a three-week window commencing as early as April 26.

In an October 20 communication to employees, Superintendent Cody Hirschi confirmed the unauthorized data access and acquisition. Hirschi emphasized the district’s commitment to a comprehensive investigation of the incident, expressing concern for the affected individuals. The Reeds Spring School District, located 35 miles south of Springfield, serves a community of 330 employees and nearly 1,800 students.

Hirschi emphasized the seriousness of the situation and underscored the district’s ongoing efforts to enhance data security and privacy practices. He assured that protective measures are continually evaluated and adjusted in response to cybersecurity threats.

In a statement, the district conveyed the district’s active response to the data breach, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a safe environment and safeguarding the privacy and security of students and staff. It also acknowledged the concerns and inconveniences the breach may cause and urged affected individuals to remain vigilant and monitor their financial accounts for any signs of suspicious activity.

When asked about the delay in notifying affected families, Ben Fisher, the Director of Communications, explained that the district had been closely coordinating with cybersecurity experts and legal counsel to complete the investigation and notification process, guided by expert advice.

The letter also guided families on steps to protect their data against misuse. The district has made credit monitoring services available to affected individuals at no cost for a year, offering timely alerts for any changes to their credit files and proactive fraud assistance. Additionally, the district encouraged families to place a “fraud alert” and “security freeze” on their credit files with all three national credit reporting companies.

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