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Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows School District suffers massive data breach

Nearly 20,000 student and staff records were shared online after Tuesday data leak
School District 42 superintendent Harry Dhillon warned parents and staff that a rise in phishing scams may be coming as a result of the Jan. 17 data leak. (The News)

Nearly 20,000 personal records have been leaked online after Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District 42 suffered a data breach on Tuesday afternoon.

Harry Dhillon, superintendent of schools, announced that information containing first and last names, school/department, district emails, and student grades were accessed for 19,126 records, which they assume affects both students and staff.

“The information that has been publicly disclosed, while concerning, was confined to easily attainable information with limited use,” said Dhillon. “The sensitivity of this information is considered low. At this time, we have no evidence that critical information was disclosed.”

All of the data that has been shared is information that both students and staff can access internally, but the district warns that outside parties could use it to target people with phishing attacks.

“If your child uses their district email account, we recommend they be extra vigilant with any emails that request personal information, including passwords,” cautioned Dhillon.

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After an initial review of the data breach, school staff found no suspicious activity in the system logs.

With the cause of the breach still unknown, the district continues to investigate how it happened.

“I want to assure you we take our responsibility to safeguard the personal information of our students and staff extremely seriously,” said Dhillon.

“As per district protocol, we will be informing the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C. about this disclosure and will take all necessary steps to prevent to the best extent possible a similar incident from occurring in the future.”

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