Breach at Illuminate Education Impacts Student Data

  • By Patrick Ryan
  • May 09, 2022

A massive digital security breach at Illuminate Education has put students' sensitive information between the ages of 5 and 18 at risk. A recent probe reveals the personal information of more than a million students between kindergarten and grade 12 has been stolen from a database. The database was not encrypted. Colorado's District 70 in Pueblo County recently revealed the breach in a notification letter transmitted to parents and students.

What is the Hack all About?

Illuminate Education provides software for learning. The purpose of the educational software is to empower educators to better understand, monitor, and report on student attributes, class attendance, and other components of education. A hacking collective improperly accessed the company's systems. Hackers infiltrated the Irvine, CA-based company's system to steal information and tinker with internal controls relied upon by more than 5,000 schools and districts in each of the 50 states. Illuminate Education serves nearly 20 million students.  

What is the Response to the Attack?

Officials in New York state have started a formal investigation into the data breach. Illuminate rakes in more than $120 million in yearly revenue, yet the company refused to comment on how it internally responded to the attack. Nor did Illuminate's public relations team give specifics as to the exact number of students and previous students who might soon become victims of identity theft after the attack.

Instead, Illuminate noted that its internal investigation is complete, and the schools with compromised data have been made aware of the situation. The schools served by Illuminate were provided with breach notifications shortly after the attack.

When did the Attack Occur?

The hack of Illuminate started in December. The company noted the data breach in early January. Though Illuminate deserves credit for relying on outside digital forensics specialists to perform an ensuing investigation, it took until March 4th to confirm that databases storing highly sensitive personal information pertaining to students was illegally accessed. The unauthorized access of the information occurred between December 28 and the first week of January 2022.
What Made Illuminate Aware of the Attack?

Illuminate's spokesperson notes that the company first suspected its internal systems were compromised when it suffered an extensive outage in early January. The outage led the company to conduct business offline for a period of time while it performed investigations. The digital forensics specialists who studied the attack noted that the company lacked the proper encryption for its database.  

What Information was Stolen in the Attack?

The breach notifications sent to schools affected by the digital attack show all sorts of information was stolen in the breach. Students' names, ID numbers, class schedules, special education status, free lunch status, gender, date of birth, and scheduling information were exposed in the attack. Students in Colorado, New York, and several other states were hit especially hard.

Will Illuminate Education Face any Fallout from the Attack?

Illuminate's failure to add the proper digital security protections has created quite the public relations nightmare and might lead to a financial penalty. New York State is taking action, noting how third-party contractors that violate the state's law about data privacy are punishable by a penalty of $10 per student or $5,000 to $150,000 in fines.

About the Author
IDStrong Logo

Related Articles

Instagram Vulnerability Allowed Hackers Access to Control Your Phone

Security experts Check Point Research discovered a critical vulnerability while examining Instagra ... Read More

Alien Malware Infects More than 226 Mobile Apps and Steals Bank Data

As reported on September 24, 2020, by ZDNet and ThreatPost, a new strain of malware named “Alien ... Read More

Universal Health Systems Hit by Ransomware Attack

Universal Health Systems (UHS), a Fortune 500 company owning more than 400 hospitals across the co ... Read More

Exchange Server Bug Exposes a Big Risk to Hackers

Months after Microsoft released a patch to fix a serious flaw in MS Exchange Server, more than 61% ... Read More

Clients’ Bank Data Exposed in Blackbaud Ransomware Attack

Blackbaud software was victim to a ransomware attack last May, and new information suggests that c ... Read More

Latest Articles

Flagstar Bank Breach Impacts More Than a Million Customers

Flagstar Bank Breach Impacts More Than a Million Customers

Flagstar Bank is in the news for the wrong reason. The bank recently publicized the fact that it discovered a digital breach.

Weekly Recap June 24 2022

Weekly Recap June 24 2022

We are nearly halfway through 2022. News stories detailing hacks and other digital breaches continue to roll in on a daily basis.

Cybercrime Related to Travel Soars at the Year’s Halfway Point

Cybercrime Related to Travel Soars at the Year’s Halfway Point

There has been a significant spike in tourism following the gradual decline of the coronavirus pandemic.  The increase in travel has caught the attention of digital miscreants looking to scam tourists as well as travel services providers.

Featured Articles

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

How to Buy a House with Bad Credit

Buying your own home is the American Dream, but it might seem out of reach to those with bad credit. However, the good news is, if your credit is less than perfect, you do still have options and in most cases, can still buy a home.

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

How Secure Is Your Password? Tips to Improve Your Password Security

Any good IT article on computers and network security will address the importance of strong, secure passwords. However, the challenge of good passwords is that most people have a hard time remembering them, so they use simple or obvious ones that pose a security risk.

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Top 10 Senior Scams and How to Prevent Them

Senior scams are becoming a major epidemic for two reasons. First, seniors often have a lot of money in the bank from a life of working hard and saving.