Study: Mass. schools, colleges have leaked nearly 2 million records in 44 data breaches since 2005

(WHDH) — Various schools, universities, and colleges across Massachusetts have suffered 44 data breaches since 2005, affecting nearly two million records, according to a new study.

In the last 15 years, educational establishments in the United States have leaked a total of 24.5 million records in 1,307 data breaches, researchers at Comparitech found.

Comparitech says its researchers crunched data to find out where the hot spots are, what the biggest causes of these breaches are, and how many students have been affected by each breach.

They made the following conclusions:

  • California is a hot spot for both college and K-12 data breaches with the most records affected (but is also home to the most of these institutions)
  • Arizona is one of the worst-hit states by number of records affected
  • Wyoming is the only state to have no known reported education breaches*
  • Hackings are the most common types of breaches
  • 2008 had the most education data breaches, but 2013 and 2017 were the biggest years by number of records affected
  • Public institutions are affected by breaches at a higher rate compared to private ones

In Massachusetts, K-12 schools suffered eight breaches that affected 543 records in that 15-year window. Comparitech ranked the Bay State as the 14th most-affected state in the country.

The study also found that Massachusetts’ colleges and universities ranked among the top 10 most affected, with 36 breaches and 1.7 million records leaked. A total of 22.9 percent of the state’s post-secondary schools were compromised.

A breach at the Harvard Computer Society in 2017 affected over 1.4 million emails, which contained personal information of members. They were said to be publicly available for a period of time.

For more statistics and information on the study, click here.

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