asca breach notification

The Association of California School Administrators yesterday notified 54,682 people about a September 2023 data breach that compromised their names and Social Security numbers, among other data.

The notification states, “On September 24, 2023, ACSA became aware of suspicious activity in its computer environment that involved the encryption of certain files.”

The notice on the ACSA website says personal information impacted for each individual may contain a “name, address, date of birth, driver’s license, Social Security number, passport, financial account information, payment card information, medical information, health insurance information, employer identification number, employer assigned identification number, tax ID, student ID number, other education-related information (including student directory information, student grade point average, student report cards/transcripts/grades, and student test scores), occupational health related information, and online account credentials.”

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack as of time of writing. We don’t yet know how attackers breached ACSA’s systems.

At an October 2023 board meeting (PDF), the ACSA acknowledged the attack and discussed negotiating a $50,000 ransom payment with the attacker.

Comparitech contacted the ACSA for comment and will update this article if it responds.

We recommend victims take advantage of the free credit monitoring offered by ACSA via IDX. Monitor your accounts, credit report, and medical bills for suspicious activity.

Ransomware attacks on US education

In addition to data theft, ransomware attacks can cripple key systems, forcing schools to cancel classes and pay high recovery costs.

In 2023, Comparitech logged 110 confirmed ransomware attacks on the education sector in the US, affecting 2,182,415 individual records.

So far this year, we’ve recorded 16 ransomware attacks on organizations operating within the education sector, affecting 18,803 records. They include the Township of Union School District in New Jersey, American International University, Virginia Union University, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, Lee University, and Traverse City Area Schools.

About the ACSA

The Association of California School Administrators is a non-profit organization representing some 17,000 superintendents, principals, vice principals, classified managers, and confidential employees across the state. It claims to be the largest umbrella organization for school leaders in the United States. It prioritizes advocating for K-12 public school students and adult learners. It employs 50-200 people, according to its LinkedIn profile.