Another NJ school reports cyber-attack
🏫 Bridgewater-Raritan schools suffered a data breach in December of 2022
💲 Social Security numbers and insurance data was stolen
💲 Why do hackers target schools?
As hackers increasingly target schools in New Jersey and across the U.S., the employees of the Bridgewater-Raritan district are the latest victims.
School officials confirm an "unauthorized actor" was able to gain access to employee's insurance enrollment information, including social security numbers.
In a letter posted on the district website, school officials say suspicious activity was first detected on its computer network on Dec. 12. An external cybersecurity firm determined data containing the personal information of school employees, as well others enrolled in the health benefits plan, had been accessed.
Letters did not go out to those potentially effected until over a month later, on Jan. 27.
The district is paying for free monitoring services and has set up a call center to answer any questions. Anyone impacted can call: 877-869-4553.
Other districts have been hit
Whether for personal information, or as an act of ransom, multiple New Jersey schools have had their cybersecurity breached.
Just before the start of the school year, hackers launched a ransomware attack on the Asbury Park School District computers. The district was forced to pay a $49,000 ransom to restore their systems.
Schools in this Gloucester County town were closed for three days last december when "an unauthorized third party" took down the districts computers system, including internet service.
Final exams had to be canceled after a ransomware attack took out network computers. In classrooms, teachers were back to using overhead projectors and kids were taking hand written notes. It is not known if the district paid a ransom.
Hillsborough and Bernards Townships
In April of 2021, schools in both districts were closed for at least a day when hackers targeted the Somerset County schools.
Hackers took over the Livingston Schools computer system during a cyber attack that crippled the network. Schools remained open, but students were on a two-hour delay as school officials figured out how to restore their systems.
Why do hackers target schools?
You would think financial institutions, retailers and other businesses that keep payment data would be a better target. They may be, but they also typically have much better security. Schools tend to have more lax security.
Schools also keep a lot of data
Cybersecurity experts say information about students, like home addresses, birthdays and full names, are valuable. The information can be used to impersonate individuals that can be used in phishing attacks. The data could also be used in ID thefts for financial crimes. For example, opening a credit card account in a child's name. Children are particularly vulnerable to this type of exploitation because parents rarely check their children's credit rating.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.