Consultant Says Hundreds of Student Records Breached During Last April’s Haverhill Cyberattack

A lab at Haverhill High School. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Hundreds of Haverhill student records breached during last April’s cyberattack on the city’s public schools.

School Superintendent Margaret Marotta made the revelation at Thursday’s School Committee meeting, explaining the school administration contacted a cybersecurity company to check what damage occurred and to make certain the system was once again secure. Marotta said the firm reported back on Dec. 28, noting a number of electronic documents were removed from the school’s system during that attack.

“So, with assistance from that external vendor, we performed a comprehensive manual document review to identify what information might have been present in those files. We discovered that a few elements of student and personally identifiable information were present in the impacted files,” she explained.

Marotta did not divulge what kind of information was taken, but did say it affects about 300 people who are being contacted over the next few weeks.

She explained the complete report has not been thoroughly reviewed yet, but she will provide an update at the next School Committee meeting Thursday, Jan. 27. Marotta told the Committee that Douglas Russell, the school’s IT director, will be in attendance to answer specific questions.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini asked if the report identified any changes or improvements that could be made to keep such an attack from happening again.

Marotta acknowledged there were and they will be explained at the next meeting.

The ransomware attack last April shut down remote learning, email, telephones and other systems and forced the cancellation of in-person as well as remote classes. At the time, the school department found 140 computers were directly affected.

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