Security breach exposes school district employee data

SAN BENITO — An education agency inadvertently exposed some school district employees’ personal information on the internet.

The Texas Association of School Boards, or TASB, notified employees of the security breach in a letter late last month.

Across Texas, it was unclear school district employees whose private information was exposed.

“School officials have been made aware that a Texas Association of School Boards website (server) containing personal information such as names and Social Security numbers, inadvertently became visible on the Internet,” Celia Longoria, the San Benito school district’s spokeswoman, stated yesterday.

Harlingen school district employees were not affected, a district official said.

TASB’s website application containing affected school district “employees personal information … at some point inadvertently became visible on the Internet,” James Crow, TASB’s executive director, wrote in a July 28 letter to employees.

TASB apparently discovered the breach on May 22.

“TASB immediately shut down the application, began an investigation with the help of a leading computer forensics firm and took immediate action to secure both the application and your information from further exposure.”

Affected employees were part of TASB’s group unemployment compensation program.

TASB used the application to report wages to the Texas Workforce Commission for unemployment compensation.

To help affected employees, TASB is providing a hotline to field district employees’ questions and offering a one-year membership to a credit monitoring and identity theft protection service.

“TASB takes its responsibility to protect the security and confidentiality of personal information very seriously,” Crow wrote.

TASB is taking precautions to improve security.

“Additionally, TASB is taking a variety of corrective actions including implementing additional security protocols to the application that caused the problem, conducting a comprehensive review of all electronic resources that contain sensitive information, increasing the frequency and scope of security scans and expanding security training for all TASB staff,” agency spokeswoman Barbara Williams stated.

To address questions, school districts’ employees can call TASB’s toll-free hotline at 866-779-0497 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Other school districts affected include

– Fort Worth ISD

– Corpus Christi ISD

– Laredo ISD

– Alief ISD

Affected school districts’ employees can call TASB’s toll-free hotline at 866-779-0497