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Devastating National Student Clearinghouse Data Breach Sends Shockwaves Through 890 Schools

The National Student Clearinghouse suffered a data breach impacting 890 schools. The incident occurred due to unauthorized access to a user’s login credentials. The breach exposed students’ personal information, including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. Schools are urged to review their security measures and inform affected individuals promptly to mitigate potential risks.

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Data Breach Affects 890 U.S. Schools

Introduction

IT Services has recently discovered a data breach that has impacted 890 schools across the United States. National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit educational organization, has reported this breach, which compromised their MOVEit managed file transfer (MFT) server. This breach resulted in the theft of personal information belonging to individuals associated with these schools.

Details of the Breach

According to the breach notification letter submitted to the Office of the California Attorney General, the cyberattack occurred on May 30, 2023. The hackers gained unauthorized access to Clearinghouse’s MOVEit MFT server. Clearinghouse, in collaboration with leading cybersecurity experts and law enforcement, promptly initiated an investigation following the discovery of the breach.

The stolen files contained various types of personally identifiable information (PII), including names, dates of birth, contact information, Social Security numbers, student ID numbers, and certain school-related records such as enrollment and degree information.

Each affected individual may have had different sets of data exposed in the attack. To view the complete list of educational organizations affected by this breach, please click here.

Clearinghouse’s Services

IT Services would like to highlight that Clearinghouse is a crucial provider of educational reporting, data exchange, verification, and research services. They serve approximately 22,000 high schools and 3,600 colleges and universities, accounting for around 97% of students enrolled in public and private institutions.

The Culprit: Clop Ransomware Gang

The cybercriminals responsible for these attacks are known as the Clop ransomware gang. They initiated a series of data theft attacks starting on May 27, taking advantage of a zero-day security flaw in the MOVEit Transfer secure file transfer platform.

As of June 15, the hackers began extorting organizations affected by the attacks. They exposed the names of these organizations on their dark web data leak site. The aftermath of these attacks is expected to impact numerous organizations worldwide, with some already notifying their affected customers over the past four months.

Despite the large number of potential victims, it is estimated that only a limited number will succumb to Clop’s ransom demands. Nevertheless, it is projected that the cybercrime gang will collect an estimated $75-100 million in ransom payments, given their high ransom requests.

In addition to educational institutions, it has been reported that multiple U.S. federal agencies and two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) entities have also fallen victim to these data theft and extortion attacks. For more information on these incidents, please refer to the following sources: CNN and Federal News Network.

H/T Brett Callow

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Malware

Massive Ohio Lottery Ransomware Attack: Shocking Impact on Over 538,000 Individuals

The Ohio Lottery experienced a ransomware attack, compromising the personal information of over 538,000 individuals. The cybercriminals behind the attack demanded a ransom of 50 bitcoin, which the Lottery refused to pay. The affected data includes names, addresses, social security numbers, and birth dates of past winners and employees.

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Imagine waking up on Christmas Eve to find out that your personal information has been compromised in a cyberattack. That’s precisely what happened to over 538,000 individuals when the Ohio Lottery experienced a data breach on December 24, 2023.

In a filing with the Office of Maine’s Attorney General, it was revealed that the attackers gained access to names, Social Security numbers, and other personal identifiers. Thankfully, the Ohio Lottery assured that the gaming network was not affected by the incident.

Even though no evidence of fraud using the stolen information was found, the Ohio Lottery provided free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to all potentially impacted individuals, just to be on the safe side.

DragonForce Ransomware Gang Claims Responsibility

While the Ohio Lottery didn’t disclose the nature of the incident, the DragonForce ransomware gang claimed responsibility for the attack a few days later. The group stated that they encrypted devices and stole documents belonging to both customers and employees of the Ohio Lottery.

On December 27, the ransomware group mentioned on their dark web leak site that they had stolen over 3 million records. After negotiations failed, the gang leaked four .bak archives and multiple CSV files on January 22, allegedly taken from the Ohio Lottery’s systems.

According to DragonForce, the 94 GB of leaked data contains 1.5 million records with Ohio Lottery clients’ names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth.

DragonForce ransomware seems to be a relatively new operation, having exposed its first victim in December 2023. However, their tactics, negotiation style, and data leak site suggest that they are an experienced extortion group. With nearly four dozen victims listed on their leak site and law enforcement disrupting many ransomware operations recently, it’s possible that this group is a rebrand of a previously known gang.

DragonForce ransomware also claimed responsibility for a cyberattack that impacted Japanese probiotic beverage manufacturer Yakult’s IT systems in Australia and New Zealand in mid-December. Yakult disclosed the attack after the ransomware gang leaked what it claimed to be 95 GB of data stolen from the company’s compromised servers.

Don’t Let This Happen to You

Cyberattacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, and the stakes are higher than ever. With personal information at risk, it’s crucial to stay informed and take proactive steps to protect yourself and your data.

We’re here to help. Our IT Services can assist you in staying up-to-date with the latest cybersecurity threats, providing guidance on how to safeguard your information and helping you navigate the ever-changing digital landscape.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you stay secure in this increasingly interconnected world. And don’t forget to keep coming back for the latest cybersecurity news and updates.

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Malware

Dell Sounds Alarm on Massive Data Breach: 49 Million Customers Potentially Impacted

Dell has warned 49 million customers of a potential data breach as unauthorized individuals attempted to extract customer data from its network. The company has reset all affected users’ passwords and is urging them to stay vigilant for any suspicious activity.

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Did you know that Dell recently experienced a data breach? A threat actor claimed to have stolen information for approximately 49 million customers. As a result, Dell started sending out data breach notifications to customers, informing them that a Dell portal containing customer information related to purchases was breached.

Now, you might be wondering, what kind of information was accessed during this breach? Well, according to Dell, the following information was compromised:

  • Name
  • Physical address
  • Dell hardware and order information, including service tag, item description, date of order, and related warranty information

Fortunately, the stolen information does not include financial or payment information, email addresses, or telephone numbers. Dell is currently working with law enforcement and a third-party forensics firm to investigate the incident.

How did this happen?

As reported by Daily Dark Web, a threat actor named Menelik tried to sell a Dell database on the Breach Forums hacking forum on April 28th. The threat actor claimed to have stolen data from Dell for “49 million customers and other information systems purchased from Dell between 2017-2024.” While we haven’t been able to confirm if this is the same data that Dell disclosed, it matches the information listed in the data breach notification.

The post on Breach Forums has since been deleted, which could indicate that another threat actor purchased the database.

What does this mean for Dell customers?

Although Dell doesn’t believe there is significant risk to its customers given the type of information involved, the stolen information could potentially be used in targeted attacks against Dell customers. Without email addresses, threat actors might resort to targeting specific people with physical mailings containing phishing links or media (DVDs/thumb drives) to install malware on targets’ devices.

Think this sounds far-fetched? Well, similar attacks have happened in the past. For instance, tampered Ledger hardware wallets were physically mailed, which then stole cryptocurrency, or gifts with USB drives were sent that installed malware.

Since the database is no longer being sold, there’s a good chance a threat actor is trying to monetize it in some way through attacks. So, what can you do to protect yourself?

Stay vigilant and be cautious

Be wary of any physical mailings or emails you receive that claim to be from Dell, asking you to install software, change passwords, or perform some other potentially risky action. If you receive any suspicious communication, contact Dell directly to confirm its legitimacy.

Remember, knowledge is power, and staying informed about cybersecurity threats is essential to protecting yourself and your information. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information and resources on cybersecurity, and keep coming back to learn more.

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Malware

800K Users Compromised: The Alarming 2023 MOVEit Cyberattack Unleashed

Learn how the University System of Georgia suffered a massive data breach in 2023, exposing the personal information of over 800,000 individuals. Discover the role of the Moveit attack and its impact on cybersecurity in the education sector. Stay informed on the latest data protection measures to keep your information safe.

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Image: Georgia Institute of Technology Tech Tower (RobRainer)

Imagine waking up one day to find out your personal information, including your Social Security number and bank account details, has been stolen by cybercriminals. This is what happened to 800,000 individuals when the University System of Georgia (USG) fell victim to the notorious Clop ransomware gang in 2023.

USG, a state government agency responsible for operating 26 public colleges and universities in Georgia, was among the first to be compromised in a massive worldwide data theft campaign conducted by the Clop gang. They exploited a zero-day vulnerability in the Progress Software MOVEit Secure File Transfer solution, impacting thousands of organizations around the globe.

How the breach unfolded

With the help of the FBI and CISA, USG eventually determined that sensitive files had been stolen from its systems. Almost a year later, they began notifying the impacted individuals, revealing that the cybercriminals accessed the following information:

  • Full or partial (last four digits) of Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Bank account number(s)
  • Federal income tax documents with Tax ID number

Considering the type of information exposed and the fact that the number of impacted individuals is larger than the number of students under USG, it’s likely that prior students, academic staff, contractors, and other personnel were also affected.

USG submitted a sample of the data breach notice to the Office of the Maine Attorney General, stating that the data breach impacts 800,000 people. Interestingly, the entry on Maine’s portal also lists driver’s license numbers or identification card numbers as exposed data types, although these are not mentioned in the notice.

What’s being done to help the victims?

To help those affected, USG is now offering 12 months of identity protection and fraud detection services through Experian. Impacted individuals have until July 31, 2024, to enroll in these services.

Unfortunately, the MOVEit attacks by Clop were one of the most successful and prolific extortion operations in recent history. Over a year after the attacks took place, organizations are still discovering, confirming, and disclosing breaches, extending the aftermath of the cyber-attacks.

Emsisoft’s dedicated counter of MOVEit victims lists 2,771 impacted organizations and nearly 95 million individuals whose personal data now resides in Clop’s servers. Some of that data was published on Clop’s extortion portal on the dark web, some were sold to other cybercrime groups, and some remain to be monetized in the future.

What can you do to protect yourself?

This data breach serves as a stark reminder of the importance of cybersecurity and vigilance in our increasingly digital world. Organizations and individuals must prioritize cybersecurity measures, such as using strong, unique passwords, enabling multi-factor authentication, and regularly updating software and systems.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your organization from cyber threats, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team at IT Services is dedicated to helping you stay safe in this ever-evolving digital landscape. Keep checking back for more insights and advice on cybersecurity!

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