HISD: Hacker accessed computer system, upgrade planned

December 2, 2010 7:21:08 AM PST
HISD is announcing a plan to upgrade its computer network security. The announcement comes as the district is also notifying parents and employees that a month-long criminal investigation has revealed a security breach. Back in October, the investigation was launched after HISD employees noticed a possible breach. Through the investigation, the district, along with the FBI, determined that a hacker had viewed the personal records of one student and had access to private data for all students, employees and vendors dating back 10 years.

According to the district, there's no evidence that any private data, other than that belonging to the one student, was actually viewed by anyone who wasn't supposed to see it.

As part of the upgraded security system, the district said through a press release Thursday that it's doing the following:

  • An immediate outside third-party review and action plan for the district's entire security environment;
  • Immediately strengthening current firewall security;
  • Upgrading password protocols and implementing security awareness training for all employees;
  • Tasking the Technology Department with overseeing all PC usage, managing remote PC access to the network and removing some PCs from the network;
  • Adding new positions in the Network Security Division;
  • Limiting wireless access solely to HISD computers until the network is fully upgraded.

"Fixing this will be a financially costly endeavor, but HISD parents, taxpayers and employees must be able to trust that we take protecting their private information seriously," HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier said.

The district says the upgrade will cost between $10 to $15 million.


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