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Lodi Schools Hit With District-Wide Cyber Security Incident

LODI (CBS13) — The phone lines were down for a third day at the Lodi Unified School District Tuesday after a cyber-security incident took out their network, computers and phone lines on Sunday.

The district would not confirm whether or not this was a ransomware attack or whether any student data was compromised, but this is not the first cyber security incident at the district.

Last year, Lodi Unified reported someone gained unauthorized access to student data - including names, addresses, and even medical information.

CBS13 recently reached out to the district as part of an investigation into how schools track and report these types of cybersecurity breaches, but the district did not respond to our request for information.

While there is no requirement that schools track or report most cyber security incidents, California Data Security Breach Notification Law does requires agencies report certain breaches of personal information.

Records reveal 25 schools reported breaches to the attorney general between 2012 and 2019. But that number has skyrocketed, nearly doubling to 49, in the past 15 months.

And that's just reported incidents.

Notably, Lodi's 2020 breach is not listed in the Attorney General's database. The district previously said there was no evidence the information was misused.

When we asked why the breach was not reported to the AG, the district said: "We followed the advice of legal counsel in handling and responding to this issue."

The law only applies to breaches impacting more than 500 people where information was "acquired" by an unauthorized person.

However, cyber security experts tell CBS13 that school breaches often go unreported because school mistakenly believe students were not compromised.

But student information from hundreds of these types of school breaches has been found for sale on the dark web - where kids' information sells for a premium because they're easy targets for identity thieves.

UPDATE: 10/6/21

On Wednesday, the Lodi Unified provided an update on the latest cyber incident:

"On Sunday, October 3, the District experienced a computer network disruption. As a result of this network disruption, we are unable to access certain files and systems.

We immediately began working with a third party specialist to investigate the scope of this incident and securely restore our access to the impacted systems.

Our website is unavailable and phone systems at five school sites are not in operation. Incoming and outgoing emails are not available. Our District office phone lines are now in working operation.

Our Technology Department is diligently working to protect all student data and personal records. We do not have an estimated timeline for when our network will be back in operation.

Our community is encouraged to download our mobile app to receive updates and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We can be found @lodiusd on all social media platforms. We will continue to send information via our Blackboard Mass Notification System."

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