If you are affiliated with Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) as an employee, student, or family member, you may have received a letter from them in June 2023, informing you that your personal data was compromised in a cyberattack that happened four months earlier. This is a serious matter that requires your attention and action to protect your rights and identity.
According to the letter, SUHSD discovered the cyberattack on February 25, 2023, when it experienced network outages that affected online learning and other services. The district hired a cybersecurity firm to investigate and found out that an unauthorized person had accessed its network and encrypted some of its files. The district was able to restore most of its systems, but later learned that the attacker had also stolen data from its servers.
The District has failed to disclose the precise nature of the data that was exfiltrated beyond Social Security numbers. However, considering the servers that would have been accessed, the person with unauthorized access took files that either included or could have included names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, student ID numbers, grades, transcripts, attendance records, discipline records, health information, and/or payroll information of current and former students and employees.
SUHSD did not disclose how many people were impacted by the breach and for how long, but it serves over 39,000 students and employs over 4,000 staff members across 32 schools in Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City and San Diego.
The district is offering only a free year of credit monitoring and identity theft protection service to those affected by the breach. However, this may not be enough to safeguard your data and identity from potential misuse and harm. As a victim of this breach, you may want to take additional steps such as:
- Reviewing your credit reports for any suspicious activity or errors
- Placing a fraud alert or a credit freeze on your credit files
- Monitoring your bank accounts and credit cards for any unauthorized charges or changes
- Changing your passwords and security questions for your online accounts
- Reporting any identity theft or fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your local police
- Consulting with an attorney about your legal options and rights
The SUHSD data breach is a major incident that exposed thousands of people’s personal and medical information to potential identity theft and fraud. You should not take this lightly and take action to protect yourself and your family.