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Sweetwater Union High School District confirms data breach caused outages in February

Posted at 9:36 AM, Jun 24, 2023

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — The Sweetwater Union High School District has confirmed a hack was the cause of a days-long system outage at their facilities, saying the personal information of employees, students, and families was accessed and taken.

The update comes four months after the incident. On Friday afternoon, the Sweetwater Union High School District sent out a release about a security incident that left students and staff without email and internet access for days in February.

"First of all, it hasn't even been sent to us employees," said Katina Rondeau, a teacher in the district.

Rondeau was on leave during the outage.

"I was not able to communicate with my payroll, my HR, or my risk management."

The district says their investigation determined in mid-May that some personal information from current and former employees, their dependents, students, and families was potentially included in files taken by someone who gained access to the district's network.

"So they knew in May about these dependents, employees, retired employees, come on, why do they keep keeping us in the dark."

The district says they have no evidence that anyone's information has been misused- saying they implemented safeguards to protect its data further, but Rondeau says the damage is done.

"A lot of teachers are receiving way more spam and fishing emails and spam phone calls, how is that possible since when this last semester."

The district's release doesn't specify how or when people affected will be notified of the hack, but they list a number for people to call if they haven't received a letter by June 26.

ABC 10News questioned the district Friday about whether or not they paid a ransom to get their systems back and were referred back to the press release, which never addressed our questions. They also declined requests for any interviews on the topic.

"Really upset, its like what are they hiding from us, why is this occurring."