Maryland Education Department Data Breach Affects 1,000 Frederick County Students

The school system is connecting students with identity protection services for a year.

by Allen Etzler, The Frederick News-Post, Md. / December 19, 2016

(TNS) — Frederick County Public Schools is offering 1,000 students, who had data stolen after a hack of the Maryland State Department of Education system, free identity protection services for a year.

The MSDE, with whom FCPS is required by law to share student data, learned its system was hacked during an investigation with FCPS, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Maryland State Attorney General's Office, the Maryland State Technology Department, and the Multistate Information Sharing and Analysis Center, FCPS said in a press release.

The MSDE did not return a request for comment, but the press release said MSDE has since taken steps to increase its security.

FCPS is offering students who were affected services through Kroll, a company that specializes in risk management, to protect their identities for 12 months at no cost. The services will include credit monitoring and identity consultation and restoration, the press release said. FCPS will send out information "as quickly as possible" to help those affected enroll in the services additional information on how to minimize the impact of this breach. Maryland law requires that the investigation be finished before any information can be shared.

The school system announced on Tuesday that the data from 1,000 students who attended Frederick County Schools between November 2005 and November 2006 was taken in a data breach that occurred before 2010.

The list, that is still visible online, said social security numbers and associated dates of birth and names for 20,000 people were available for sale. When reached for comment Sunday afternoon, FCPS Communication Services Director Michael Doerrer said the investigation showed 1,000 former FCPS students had their information stolen.

"I don't know where the 20,000 number is coming from," Doerrer said.

Because the breach occurred so long ago, it is impossible to definitively determine the source of the breach, the press release said.

The press release reiterated FCPS is working to take the information down from the web, which Doerrer said was a priority on Saturday.

©2016 The Frederick News-Post (Frederick, Md.), distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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