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Colorado Department of Higher Education Discloses Ransomware Attack, Data Breach

Colorado Department of Higher Education targeted in a ransomware attack that resulted in a data breach impacting many students and teachers.

The Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) has been targeted in a ransomware attack that resulted in a data breach impacting many students and teachers.

In a data incident notice posted on its website, the organization said it became aware of a cyberattack involving ransomware on June 19. 

The investigation is ongoing, but it appears that cybercriminals had access to CDHE systems between June 11 and June 19, obtaining names, social security numbers, student identification numbers, as well as other education records. 

Impacted individuals include “those that attended a public institution of higher education in Colorado between 2007-2020, attended a Colorado public high school between 2004-2020, individuals with a Colorado K-12 public school educator license between 2010-2014, participated in the Dependent Tuition Assistance Program from 2009-2013, participated in Colorado Department of Education’s Adult Education Initiatives programs between 2013-2017, or obtained a GED between 2007-2011 may be impacted by this incident.”

Those affected by the breach are being offered free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services. 

SecurityWeek has checked the websites of several major ransomware groups, but has not seen any mention of CDHE.

The announcement comes just weeks after Colorado State University revealed that it was impacted by the Cl0p ransomware group’s MOVEit hack, which affected hundreds of organizations, both directly and indirectly. 

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Organizations in the education sector are often targeted by profit-driven cybercriminals and the US government has issued several alerts over the past year for these types of attacks.  

Related: FBI: Higher Education Credentials Sold on Cybercrime Forums

Related: CISA Provides Resources for Securing K-12 Education System

Related: US Gov Rolls Out National Cyber Workforce, Education Strategy

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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