The National Student Clearinghouse Breach Exposed Millions of Students

  • By Steven
  • Published: Sep 25, 2023
  • Last Updated: Sep 26, 2023

The National Student Clearinghouse is a research facility that gathers data on students from approximately 22,000 high schools and more than 3,600 different colleges. Between all these schools throughout the United States, approximately 97% of the total student population is enrolled in the National Student Clearinghouse. That means the information for most students is on file with the organization. 

How Did the Attack Occur?

According to details from Progress Software and many of the other companies impacted by the MOVEit data breach incidents, the C10P ransomware gang gained access to the file-transfer tool called MOVEit near the end of May 2023. At that time, the gang began accessing any connected databases holding the data files of users relying on MOVEit to transfer information securely. The breach affected hundreds of organizations, including the National Student Clearinghouse. This specific breach affected students of nearly 1,000 schools. 

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?

According to all the investigations conducted surrounding this data breach, a wide variety of personal information details were potentially exposed by this breach. Data such as Social Security numbers, school-related documents such as degree records and enrollment records, contact information, full names, birth dates, and more were exposed by this data breach. That means students had much of their personal data exposed. 

How Did the National Student Clearinghouse Admit to the Breach?

The National Student Clearinghouse sent a notification letter to the Office of the California Attorney General. The letter explains how the data breach occurred because of a vulnerability in the MOVEit file transfer software. The letter explains how many people were potentially involved and what data was at risk because of the breach. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

At first, the data taken from the National Student Clearinghouse was used as leverage to demand a ransom from the organization. Once the ransom was not paid, the data could either be sold or used in an attempt to launch identity theft attacks on some of the students. It's also possible the information was used for phishing attacks. Hackers may use the stolen data to help them attain more stolen data. 

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?

You must protect yourself if any of your personal information was involved in the NSC breach. The most important thing for you to do is avoid giving away any confidential information to anyone who asks you for it via email or over the phone. This will protect you from follow-up attacks. You can guard your identity by checking your credit and getting a credit monitoring service. Guard your data closely, and you can quickly report any fraudulent account openings, credit cards, and more to the related companies to have them closed. You could also freeze your credit for even more protection.

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