Northside Independent School District Provides Notice of Data Security Incident
San Antonio, Texas, October 16, 2017 – Northside ISD officials stated that action has been taken after becoming aware of an incident in which an unknown third party may have gained access to email accounts of certain employees. While Northside ISD has provided notice to a vast majority of impacted individuals, it is providing this notice to the small percentage of individuals for which it does not have sufficient contact information.
On August 12, 2016, Northside ISD discovered that an individual or individuals had gained access to the email account of several of its employees. This email account contained, among other things, personally identifiable information of certain Northside ISD students and employees. Northside ISD immediately took steps to secure the email accounts and launched an investigation to determine whether any sensitive information was accessed or acquired. While Northside ISD has no evidence that the individual or individuals accessed or acquired personally identifiable information from the employees’ email accounts, access to the information in the email accounts could not be ruled out.
Once this determination was made, Northside engaged in a lengthy programmatic and manual review of the email accounts to determine the types of protected information contained in the accounts and to which individuals the information relates, and immediately launched a review of its files to ascertain address information for the impacted individuals. Northside ISD began notifying impacted individuals via U.S. mail in late 2016. However, after an exhaustive review of available records, NISD was unable to identify addresses for approximately 400 individuals.
What Information Was Involved?
While Northside ISD has no evidence that the unauthorized individual or individuals actually accessed or acquired any information, Northside ISD confirmed that names and medical information were contained in the email accounts for those individuals without address information.
What We Are Doing
“Northside ISD takes the security of information stored on our systems seriously, and we apologize for the inconvenience this incident has caused,” Dr. Brian Woods, Superintendent of Northside ISD, said. “We continue to work with third-party forensic investigators to ensure the security of our systems, and do all we can on behalf of our impacted individuals.”
For More Information
Northside ISD has established a dedicated assistance line for individuals seeking additional information regarding this incident. While we have no evidence that any information was misused, if you believe you were impacted by this incident, you can call 1-855-330-6366, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday, excluding major holidays.
What You Can Do
Northside ISD encourages everyone to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft by reviewing their account statements regularly and monitoring their credit reports for suspicious activity. Under U.S. law, individuals over the age of 18 is entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. You can order a free credit report online or call (toll-free) 1-877-322-8228. Individuals may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of their credit report.
Northside ISD encourages individuals who believe they may be affected by this incident to take additional action to further protect against possible identity theft or other financial loss. At no charge, individuals can also have these credit bureaus place a “fraud alert” on their file that alerts creditors to take additional steps to verify their identity prior to granting credit in their name. Note, however, that because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect the individual, it may also delay their ability to obtain credit while the agency verifies their identity. As soon as one credit bureau confirms the individual’s fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts on the individual’s file. Should the individual wish to place a fraud alert, or should the individual have any questions regarding his or her credit report, the individual can contact any one of the agencies listed below.
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
An individual may also place a security freeze on their credit reports. A security freeze prohibits a credit reporting agency from releasing any information from an individual’s credit report without the consumer’s written authorization. However, individuals should be aware that placing a security freeze on their credit report may delay, interfere with, or prevent the timely approval of any requests they make for new loans, credit mortgages, employment, housing, or other services.
If an individual has been a victim of identity theft, and the individual provides the credit reporting agency with a valid police report, it cannot charge the individual to place, lift or remove a security freeze. In all other cases, a credit reporting agency may charge a fee to place, temporarily lift, or permanently remove a security freeze. Individuals will need to place a security freeze separately with each of the three major credit bureaus listed above if the individual wishes to place the freeze on all of their credit files.
To find out more on how to place a security freeze, individuals can contact the credit reporting agencies using the information below:
|Equifax Security Freeze
P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348
(NY residents call 1-800-349-9960)
|Experian Security Freeze
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
Individuals can further educate themselves regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, and the steps they can take to protect themselves, by contacting the Federal Trade Commission or their state Attorney General. The Federal Trade Commission can be reached by mail at 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, online, or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. Individuals can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement. This notice has not been delayed by law enforcement.