Louisiana HBCU says personal data from 44,000 students accessed in November cyberattack

The only Catholic historically Black college or university (HBCU) reported a data breach this week involving Social Security numbers and other personal information from more than 44,000 students and vendors.

In filings with the office of Maine’s attorney general, Xavier University of Louisiana said it suffered a cyberattack on November 22.

“Xavier engaged cybersecurity experts to assist with the process,” they wrote, determining on January 24 that “student and vendor personal information may have been acquired without authorization during the incident.”

“The information accessed and potentially acquired by an unknown person may have included full names and Social Security numbers.”

Those affected by the cyberattack are being offered one year of Experian credit monitoring and identity protection services.

It is unclear whether the nine Maine residents mentioned in the notification were the only recipients of breach letters or if all 44,000 were notified.

Colleges and universities across the U.S. continue to face an onslaught of cyberattacks resulting in troves of student information pouring onto the dark web.

Last week Mount Saint Mary College in New York confirmed a ransomware attack that led to the leak of data from all student and employees of the college in the last 10 years.

At least 24 colleges or universities had data exfiltrated and released online after cyberattacks last year, according to Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Callow.

HBCUs and schools serving minority populations – like North Carolina A&T University, Florida International University and more – have been hit particularly hard, as they often cannot afford the kind of network security needed to protect student and faculty information.

On Friday, the U.S. Education Department warned higher-education institutions that they have until early June to comply with federal rules for protecting privacy and personal information.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig

is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.