Private information spotted on dark web in fallout from Fairfax Co. schools cyberattack

Personal information stolen from Fairfax County Public Schools during a ransomware attack last month has appeared on the dark web, according to a news release from Virginia’s largest school system.

School Superintendent Scott Brabrand said that “it appears as though certain personal information for some students and employees may have been impacted.”

He added that the school system is still working to identify whose information was taken and will get in touch with those who’ve been affected once it’s appropriate.

WTOP news partner NBC Washington said that some of the information released on the dark web included a spreadsheet from 2014 listing several hundreds of employees’ names, Social Security numbers and a few details about their health insurance.

Brabrand said a group of cybercriminals known as the Maze group have claimed responsibility for the ransomware attack — a type of attack where data is stolen and held hostage in return for payment.

The attack has not affected FCPS’ ability to meet payroll or carry on with its virtual schooling, per Brabrand.

The school system originally announced the attack had taken place on Sept. 11, just days after the first day of class.

Brabrand said that the school system has since fortified its cybersecurity and is looking at additional ways to further harden its defenses. FCPS is also working closely with the criminal investigations being done by the the FBI and Virginia State Police.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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