The personal breach epidemic has made itself known in Olympia, Washington and for Olympia School District employees it is cause for concern. Personal information of some current and former has been stolen by someone posing as the district’s superintendent.
There have been more than 175 breaches already in 2016, make that 176.
An estimated 105 million U.S. adults have been breached, and about 64 million of those people received notifications their information was stolen in a hack at some point in the last year, according to a survey by Rand Corp.
The district said in a statement Wednesday that a person pretending to be the superintendent over email requested and was given an extensive list of employee names, addresses, salary information and Social Security numbers.
The president of the district’s teacher’s union, Adam Brickell, said he’s upset but only to a degree. He says it’s easy to get access to email these days.
“It happens, and when our students make mistakes, it’s an opportunity to have that conversation and move forward with it. You could call it a teachable moment if you want to,” he said.
The list had information from 2,164 employees who received a W-2 tax form for 2015.
The district issued a statement acknowledging the breach.
“We learned at the end of the work day yesterday that we had a district data breach. The “phish” resulted in an outside entity “spoofing” the email address of the superintendent.
The person posing as the superintendent requested via email a listing of employee names, addresses, salary information and social security numbers. The list included information for employees who received a W-2 form for the calendar year January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.
When learning that an outside entity “phished” our district for confidential information, we responded immediately by convening a team to discuss appropriate steps regarding potentialimpact on current and former employees.
In addition, we notified the Olympia Police Department, Internal Revenue Service, and the Washington state Attorney General’s office as required by law.
This morning we have been working with security experts, legal counsel, insurance carrier, and the district technology team regarding a number of issues associated with this breach of information. Our first priority is to ensure our employee’s personal data.
We understand the severity of this issue and are advising employees on protective measures.”
School officials have contacted police and technology staff is gathering information that may aid the investigation. The district says it will help employees monitor their finances.