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B.C. school district investigating data breach affecting up to 19,000 people

Click to play video: 'B.C. school district suffers security breach that compromises student and staff information'
B.C. school district suffers security breach that compromises student and staff information
Parents, students and staff at two B.C. municipalities are on edge, after being told some of the personal information of students and staff has been compromised in a security breach. Emad Agahi reports – Jan 20, 2023

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is warning its school community about a data breach involving more than 19,000 records.

In a bulletin posted Thursday, the district said it is investigating how files containing first names, last names, schools/departments, district email addresses and student grades were released.

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The release likely affects both students and staff, the district said.

“The information that has been accessed, while concerning, was confined to easily attainable information with limited use,” the district said in the bulletin.

“The sensitivity of this information is considered low. At this time, the school district has no evidence that critical information was disclosed.”

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However, it warned that the information — while not necessarily sensitive — could be used for “targeted phishing attacks.”

Phishing is a common online fraud tactic where a bad actor tries to trick users into clicking on malicious links or divulging sensitive information such as passwords, credit card information or other personal information.

The district is warning students, families and staff to be extra vigilant if using their district email account for any emails asking for personal information or passwords.

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According to the bulletin, the district first learned about the data release on Wednesday. It said it immediately launched a review of its systems logs for suspicious activity but found no trace of a malicious actor.

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“While it is possible this information was obtained because of a compromised student or staff email account, our investigation into how this data was accessed is ongoing,” it said.

Members of the school community with questions or concerns can contact the district at privacy@sd42.ca.

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