Data breach impacted current, fmr. students of Greenville Co. Schools, officials say

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GREENVILLE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Greenville County Schools officials said in a news release Friday that current and former students were impacted in a data breach at a UK education software company.

According to the release, the company, Pearson, warned that more than 13,000 school district and university AimsWeb accounts across the United States were affected by the data breach.

Greenville County Schools officials said the names and dates of birth of 24,282 current and former students were impacted by the breach.

Students impacted attended kindergarten in the district from 2012-13 through 2016-17, and were born between 2004 and 2011.

“Neither school grades nor assessment information was affected, and the breached system did not contain personal addresses, social security numbers, credit-card data, or other financial information that is often the objective of hackers,” school officials said.

Greenville County Schools said they are working to locate contact information on individual students whose data was breached. The district said they will notify affected families through a mailed letter, which are expected to be mailed early next week.

According to the release, Pearon is providing complimentary credit monitoring via Experian (1-866-883-3309).

The Federal Trade Commission has a website with suggested actions for those who may have been impacted by a data breach. Visit that website here.

“Greenville County Schools has both employees and systems whose sole purpose is to protect our student data,” Superintendent W. Burke Royster said. “Doing so includes carefully screening and vetting the vendors with whom we enter into data sharing agreements. Unfortunately, in the modern world large data systems are constantly under attack from cyberthieves and sometimes those thieves find a way to break in. This is one reason we no longer collect student social security numbers for school registration.”

According to the release, state law requires South Carolina district to have a formal assessment and data monitoring system.

“AimsWeb was used for this purpose for a number of years, but was discontinued after the 2016-17 school year,” school officials said. “Again, the data breach was experienced by AimsWeb, a subsidiary of Pearson. Student names are not considered protected information, but in South Carolina dates of birth are protected when those dates are matched with a name.”

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