Nelnet Data Breach Impacts 2.5 Million Students

  • By Steven
  • Sep 27, 2022

Nelnet Data Breach

Nelnet is a student loan service based out of Lincoln, Nebraska. Recently, it suffered a data breach that revealed the personal information of over 2.5 million students. The data breach was on a massive scale, occurring sometime in the early summer of 2022.

How Did the Attack Occur?

"Our cybersecurity team discovered a vulnerability believed to have led to this incident and took immediate action to secure the systems, block the suspicious activity, and fix the issue," Nelnet stated. "The Department of Education was also notified, and we launched an investigation with third-party forensic experts to determine the nature and scope of the activity." Nelnet and The Department of Education have since been working with the authorities to ensure they take all possible actions to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?

The viewed information included names, emails, social security numbers, and phone numbers of the impacted students. Nelnet stated that its forensic investigation of the breach found that there was no access to any forms of payment information or account numbers. However, the accessed data is still a dangerous thing for the hacker to access. The actor can use this information to do [ractically anything they want and effectively ruin students' lives in the process.

How Did Nelnet Admit to the Breach?

Nelnet began to send out notifications to any students that may have been affected by the breach. It explained what information was viewed, how to deal with the breach personally, and what students could do to keep themselves safe. Nelnet offered students 24 months of credit monitoring, entirely free. Nelnet left instructions on how to join the service in their notification letters. Nelnet is already facing a lawsuit due to the data breach. The lead plaintiff in the case, Jesse Harrick, is searching for punitive and actual damages of an unquantified amount.

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

Considering the nature of the stolen information, anything can happen with it. Credit cards and leases can be opened and used in your name. Cars can be bought, and credit can be destroyed. The bad actor could sell the information or, if they so choose, can keep it for themselves and become you. The possibilities for identity theft are endless, with this much information up for grabs.

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

In the aftermath of the breach, any students affected by the data breach should focus on staying safe. Check your credit scores and statements. Download software that will warn you if your information is used somewhere without your consent. Stay on guard for strange emails or text messages that may be a part of a phishing campaign. It's most likely the best idea to join the gifted identity protection service from Nelnet. If you're in college, you already have enough to worry about; don't add stressing about your internet safety to the list.

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