Breach Affects Student Emails

Catherine Smith, Viewpoints Editor

Multiple data breaches have affected students’ email passwords at Fauquier High School. This has caused many mass password changes facilitated by the school system. Michelle Green, ITRT says a data breach “is where somebody had gotten in and could access accounts.”
The first notification of the data breach came from Central Office and was sent to Louis MacDonald on October 14. The IT Building was notified of the breach, and they sent the information to our administration. Students received an email explaining the situation with a chart including the breach date, the account name, what was compromised and Canva, a graphic design tool and the company responsible for the breach. The data breach affected 137 million subscribers that included email addresses, usernames, names, cities of residence and passwords
During the first breach, 100 accounts were afflicted, and on November 1, 620 accounts were breached. This is the largest number of FCPS accounts breached in the reported days. This is a current problem that is still affecting students and their account recovery. The accounts are being breached at random.
“Don’t use your school email to make accounts for other websites,” said Green. On Tuesday, December 3, Todd Hickling, Manager of Information Resources sent an email to all staff titled: External Email Warning Bar.
The email stated that an external email warning bar was set to all emails, but it will not be attached to internal emails. “If you receive an email from someone with an FCPS1.ORG email address, and this warning bar is in that email, you will know that it is a spam/phishing email and you should delete it,” said Hickling.
This is a problem that is affecting more than just our county. A major data breach affecting 6,000 students occurred in Montgomery County, Maryland through an online college and career website called Naviance. The breach was linked to six schools after police investigation and dated back to September.
This platform had access to names, dates of birth, genders, addresses, phone numbers, nicknames, GPAs, email addresses, school counselors grade levels, student IDs, SAT, PSAT, IB and ACT scores.