Hackers steal information on past, present Clarksville, Montgomery County students, faculty
June 14, 2012
CLARKSVILLE, TENN. (June 14, 2012) -- Cyber terrorism reared its head in a neighboring community at Fort Campbell this week, and those with current or former ties to Clarksville, Tenn. may be affected.
On Monday, information on students and faculty pilfered from the databases of the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System was leaked online, the work of a new hacking group called Spex Security. The information, including Social Security numbers, names and birth dates, was compiled in retaliation for the educational system "…belligerently not patching the holes in their system," according to a released statement.
While SpexSec claims to have obtained information on more than 100,000 individuals, their intention is to "be fair" and only publish information on about 14,000.
The published list is said to feature information on students with birthdates as far back as 1987, meaning Soldiers or dependents with ties, current or previous, to the CMCSS may be affected by the incident.
To combat the current situation, the school system is partnering with outside sources, including the Clarksville Police Department and the Cyber Crime Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"We're seeing a large increase in these types of breaches in all sectors," said Agent Scott Augenbaum, supervisor of the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI, Memphis Division, in an interview with the Leaf Chronicle.
While the organizations work to find answers, Elise Shelton, chief communications officer for the CMCSS, recommends that anyone possibly affected by the security breach take action to protect their identities.
"The school system leadership understands this is a difficult situation for everyone, and we are sympathetic to the stress and frustration you must be feeling," said Shelton in a statement issued Wednesday morning. "The Social Security Office and the U.S. Attorney's office have contacted us to say it is not necessary to call either of the agencies about this situation."
The school system, FBI and Fort Campbell Consumer Affairs unanimously offer a single piece of advice: be alert and vigilant about monitoring personal credit and that of minors possibly affected by the incident.
The first step in the process is to obtain a personal copy of one's credit report. It is recommended that a report be obtained each of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
"You can go through annualcreditreport.com, which is through the Federal Trade Commission," suggests Silke Murray, consumer counselor for the Army Community Service's Financial Readiness Program. "You can check your history with the three bureaus once a year for free."
Checking the credit reports of minors, however, cannot be done online.
"For that you have to provide a mail-in request," said Murray. "You can come to consumer affairs for a form letter, or you can go to ftc.gov for information on filling out the letter."
Beyond accessing credit reports, Murray suggests keeping an eye open for identity theft "red flags."
"Monitor your bank account," said Murray. "If you're receiving bills you have no knowledge of, or if you're no longer receiving bills from a company, you'll want to contact them."
Consistent monitoring can also be obtained through third-party companies for a fee.
"Just be aware that you're giving them access to your credit history and personal information," said Murray. "Check that business with the Better Business Bureau, or call us to see if we've had any complaints about them."
Agencies like the police department and Internal Revenue Service cannot become involved in personal cases unless a crime or attempted crime has taken place.
"While the hacker did release a list of names and personal identifiable information to media and on various websites yesterday, it is likely that there are more individuals affected than are on the list," said Shelton. "Everybody should be on alert."
Theft Protection and Assistance:
TransUnion: firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-800-680-7289
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285, 1-888-766-0008, www.equifax.com