Students breach personal data


Tom Kertscher

Cedarburg High School students used a school computer to access confidential data of current and former School District employees that had not been properly secured on the district computer network, Superintendent Daryl Herrick said Tuesday.

The students obtained names, addresses and Social Security numbers and might have accessed personal bank account information, he said.

Herrick issued a statement about the computer breach after Police Chief Tom Frank confirmed that district officials had asked his department to investigate.

Frank said it was too early to determine whether any crimes were committed.

The security breach was discovered about 11 a.m. Tuesday, after a high school student told a teacher that students had accessed the data with a school computer, Herrick said.

The data was secured within two hours, but it was not known how long it had been accessible to students, he said.

A district employee had put the data in an area of the network that is accessible to school employees, thinking it was a secure area, Herrick said.

Students do not have access to that area, and it was unknown how they obtained access, he said.

Herrick said it was clear from interviews with students that a number of students had gained access to the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of current and former district employees. He said personal bank account information also would have been available, but it was unclear whether that data was accessed.

Herrick said the district has not received any reports of misuse of the data.

The district said that it was:

* Contacting all financial institutions it uses for direct deposit and requesting that they place a fraud alert on individual accounts.

* Recommending that employees place a free initial fraud alert on their credit files.

* Offering to pay "reasonable or customary fees" related to opening new accounts and providing for credit reporting services.

Two Cedarburg teachers union representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

Herrick said "there is no correlation" between the security breach and a case involving former Cedarburg High School teacher Robert Zellner, who was fired for viewing pornography on his school computer.

Zellner's attorney has raised questions about whether others might have gained access to Zellner's computer.

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