Trove of L.A. students’ mental health records posted to dark web after cyber hack
Update: After this story published, the Los Angeles school district acknowledged in a statement that “approximately 2,000” student psychological evaluations — including those of 60 current students — had been uploaded to the dark web. Detailed and highly sensitive mental health records of hundreds — and likely thousands — of former Los Angeles students were...
By Mark Keierleber | February 22, 2023
They lost their kids at Sandy Hook 10 years ago. Their fight is for life
This article was published in partnership with The Trace. Sign up for its newsletters here. With an infectious smile, 7-year-old Daniel Barden’s slow, steady drumbeat held together the fledgling family band. The quartet’s intimate performance had brought life to the Best Western hotel in Monticello, New York, where the Bardens gathered to celebrate a joyous milestone:...
By Mark Keierleber | December 14, 2022
Police experts: Swatting hoax targeting schools ‘absolutely’ coordinated, but may still be kids
After the police in more than a dozen South Carolina communities fielded calls last week alerting them to active school shootings, officers rushed to campuses where students and educators hid in fear for their lives. Ever since the mass school shooting in May at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school, families nationwide have been on high...
By Mark Keierleber | October 14, 2022
LAUSD downplays student harm after cyber gang posts sensitive data online
Updated, Oct. 4 The Vice Society ransomware gang reportedly published over the weekend a trove of sensitive student records from the Los Angeles school district. The data was posted to the gang’s dark-web “leak site,” after education leaders refused to pay — and at first even acknowledge — a ransom. Yet in a press conference...
By Mark Keierleber | October 3, 2022
Trevor Project to Refund Donation From Student Surveillance Company Accused of LGBTQ Bias Following 74 Investigation
The Trevor Project, a leading group combatting LGBTQ youth suicide, took money from Gaggle, whose online monitoring tool zeroes in on queer students.
By Mark Keierleber | September 30, 2022
LA schools and the mystery of the missing ransom note
As the shady ransomware gang Vice Society took credit for a hack that sent Los Angeles school officials scrambling last week, cybersecurity experts noticed something peculiar. Vice Society, an “intrusion, exfiltration and extortion” group that experts believe is based in Russia, has become notorious for waging cyber warfare against K-12 schools, leveraging the theft of...
By Mark Keierleber | September 14, 2022
Survey reveals extent that cops surveil students online — in school and at home
When Baltimore students sign into their school-issued laptops, the police log on, too. Since the pandemic began, Baltimore City Public Schools officials have tracked students’ online lives with GoGuardian, a digital surveillance tool that promises to identify youth at risk of harming themselves or others. When GoGuardian flags students, their online activities are shared automatically with school...
By Mark Keierleber | August 29, 2022
Illuminate Education pulled from ‘Student Privacy Pledge’ after massive data breach
Embattled education technology vendor Illuminate Education has become the first-ever company to get booted from the Student Privacy Pledge, an unprecedented move that follows a massive data breach affecting millions of students and allegations the company misrepresented its security safeguards. The Future of Privacy Forum, which created the self-regulatory effort nearly a decade ago to...
By Mark Keierleber | August 15, 2022
New Ken Burns PBS documentary offers raw look at the youth mental health crisis
When brothers Erik Ewers and Christopher Loren Ewers set out to film a documentary about the mental health struggles of American youth, they knew they were tackling a pervasive problem unspoken about for far too long. What they didn’t realize were the lessons they’d come to uncover about themselves. Hiding in Plain Sight: Youth Mental...
By Mark Keierleber | June 27, 2022
Meet the gatekeepers of students’ private lives
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. Megan Waskiewicz used to sit at the top of the bleachers, rest her back against the wall and hide her face behind the glow of a laptop monitor. While...
By Mark Keierleber | May 12, 2022