The Colorado Department of Higher Education has issued an alarming notice on Friday regarding a large-scale cybersecurity breach.
This breach, believed to have occurred over a span of more than a decade leading up to 2020, has potentially exposed the personal information of attendees of public high schools, colleges, and universities in the state.
Officials have disclosed that not only students but also teachers licensed by the state and individuals who obtained GEDs may have fallen victim to this breach.
The breach, orchestrated by an unauthorized actor between June 11 and 19, has led to the unauthorized acquisition of sensitive data, including names, Social Security numbers, student identification numbers, and other pertinent educational records.
The scope of potential victims is vast and includes those who:
- Attended a Colorado public high school between 2004 and 2020
- Attended a public college or university in Colorado between 2007 and 2020
- Held a Colorado K-12 education license between 2010 and 2014
- Participated in the state’s Dependent Tuition Assistance Program from 2009 to 2013
- Enrolled in the Colorado Department of Education’s Adult Education Initiatives from the year 2013 to 2017
- Obtained a GED in Colorado between 2007 and 2011
The precise count of impacted individuals remains unknown, according to department officials. The Colorado Department of Higher Education has been diligently collaborating with specialized third-party experts to thoroughly investigate the breach and bolster network security.
The incident is currently the subject of an active criminal and internal investigation. Those who might be affected by this breach will be notified through mail or email, provided the department has their contact information.
In a proactive move, the department has initiated a comprehensive review of its policies and procedures, in addition to enhancing cybersecurity defenses.
To alleviate the potential fallout of this breach, the department is offering impacted parties complimentary access to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services through Experian for a period of two years. Victims are encouraged to visit cdhe.colorado.gov for more information, as direct enrollment by the department is not feasible.
Furthermore, individuals are advised to carefully scrutinize their account statements and closely monitor their credit reports for any signs of suspicious activity or errors. For those seeking clarification or assistance, a dedicated hotline has been established, operational from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends: 833-301-1346.