LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – As the FBI helps to investigate a cybersecurity hack within the Clark County School District, hackers are claiming to have stolen hundreds of thousands of student personnel records.
In an email sent to at least one parent, the hackers said they would release potentially embarrassing data, including children’s health and expulsion records unless they’re paid.
While the email is sparking confusion among parents as to how to respond to the situation, several cybersecurity experts 8 News Now spoke with say parents should not engage the hackers.
“When you see an email like that then it causes confusion, and then you get emotional, and you don’t know what to do,” Christopher Warner of GuidePoint Security said.
CCSD notified the public on Thursday it was cooperating with the FBI on a cybersecurity hack. Hours after the district’s email, at least one parent received an email claiming to be the hackers that they’ve been in CCSD’s network for a “few months.”
They attached zip files to the email that linked to more than 200,000 student profiles, student medical records, and suspension and attendance records.
8 News Now showed Warner the email.
“They could sell each and every one of those individual’s information. And what parents need to do right now is contact their local law enforcement,” Warner said.
UNLV runs a free cyber clinic that helps small businesses prepare for a hack. The director of the clinic Yoohwan Kim says protecting data online is becoming increasingly difficult.
“Hackers can steal a lot of data, if the data is not protected, unencrypted. There are many ways for the hackers to get in and steal the entire database,” Kim said.
Hackers are growing more brazen, targeting governmental entities like schools that don’t have a lot of money to pay a ransom, according to Kim.
“It’s really cruel what they did attacking parents and sending their information out,” Jorge Anderson, a student at UNLV and the president of the free cyber clinic, said. “As a parent you’re curious. Is my student affected? What information do they have? I would not click that link.”
Those same experts recommend people change their passwords monthly and create long passwords. These steps are necessary because once data leaks online, it may be challenging to take it down.
In their email to parents, the hackers claim CCSD refused to pay a ransom for its data.
For its part, CCSD said on Thursday it’s still working to identify all the individuals whose information may have been compromised.