Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) continues to thoroughly investigate the cyber attack that disrupted network servers on Monday, Aug. 14 similar to those experienced by several school districts nationwide.
The school system has worked diligently to restore systems to operability as quickly as possible while investigating the incident with outside cybersecurity and forensic specialists.
We have learned that some personal information may be released online by those responsible for the cyber attack. While we now know that this may include identification details, we do not yet know the full extent of information relating to you, or to others, that may be affected. We are taking steps to perform a detailed review of all data that may have been compromised to identify any sensitive information impacted by this event. Once this work is complete, we will move as quickly as possible to notify those whose information may be affected.
With the detailed data review expected to take several weeks, we will offer all staff and students access to free credit monitoring and identity protection services through Experian to help guard against potential misuse of personal information. Enrollment information is forthcoming.
For immediate protection, we urge the PGCPS community to take advantage of readily available tools, including monitoring financial accounts and statements and to contact their financial institution immediately in the case of suspicious activity.
Be careful clicking email links.
Before opening email, check to make sure that the display name is in fact from the PGCPS employee and not a spoof. Anyone can create a spoof email account for free on the internet utilizing any name they choose, even if it is the same or similar to that of a PGCPS staff member. There is no formal verification process for creating free email accounts; therefore, we have no way of knowing who created the account or when it was created. Before clicking on any links in an email — even from a trusted colleague — remember to hover over the link to see where it will send you. Never click on any links or open attachments from suspicious emails.
Look for the yellow banner.
If you receive an email with a yellow warning banner that appears suspicious and not from someone you are expecting to hear from, do not respond. Simply delete the message. If the email contains a supervisor or a colleague's name along with the yellow warning banner, do not open the email. Instead, please contact the colleague at their PGCPS email address to check the validity of the email. If the email is in the Spam folder, there is a high probability that the email is not valid.
Do not reply or enter your personal information.
Never enter your username and password on an external link. Never purchase a gift card from an email you receive and send the card information to someone via email. Never reply to the email scam.
Under U.S. law, a consumer is entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To order a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. Consumers may also directly contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below to request a free copy of their credit report.
Consumers have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on a credit file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a 1-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit. If consumers are the victim of identity theft, they are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should consumers wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any of the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below.
As an alternative to a fraud alert, consumers have the right to place a “credit freeze” on a credit report, which will prohibit a credit bureau from releasing information in the credit report without the consumer’s express authorization. The credit freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in a consumer’s name without consent.
However, consumers should be aware that using a credit freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in their credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application they make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit.
Pursuant to federal law, consumers cannot be charged to place or lift a credit freeze on their credit report. Should consumers wish to place a credit freeze or fraud alert, please contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below:
Equifax Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
Equifax Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
Experian Fraud Alert, P.O. Box
9554, Allen, TX 75013
Experian Credit Freeze, P.O.
Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Fraud Alert, P.O. Box
2000, Chester, PA 19016
TransUnion Credit Freeze, P.O.
Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094