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Massive CDHE data breach faces scrutiny and questions about data policies

If you have questions, or concerns there is a hotline you can call at (833) 301-1346
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 15, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — We’re following up on the massive data breach at the Colorado Department of Higher Education potentially impacting former students in our state spanning two decades.

Data breaches impact millions of us every year and expose billions of records. They happen so often that it’s easy to just move on after news of the latest breach.

A former student and cybersecurity expert in our area both agree that this data breach at the state levelshould lead to some tough conversations and possibly law or policy changes when it comes to our data stored in the education system.

”You’re playing with thousands of people’s lives and that is just unacceptable,” said Coby Bailey.

He is a local 2020 high school graduate who is concerned about his information that was potentially stolen in the recent Colorado Department of Higher Education data breach.

”Honestly I’m worried about my social security, all of my personal information,” said Bailey. “I have a family to raise and I’m the man of the household. I feel like the state should be well protected about things like this.”

With his sensitive information possibly circulating in places like the dark web now, he’s frustrated to know someone may open up accounts in his name, or could launch a fraud or scam attack on any day for the rest of his life.

”I don’t get affected this year, but when I’m 50 or 60 years old I’m affected and that’s very unacceptable,” said Bailey.

He says he wants someone to answer for this situation.

”The only way to fix it is they should have stopped it in the first place, but they didn’t and who knows where we go from now? This could affect many people for many many years to come,” warned Bailey.

Dr. Eric Huffman is a cybersecurity researcher in the Pikes Peak Region.

”That initial gut feeling is oh my gosh this is terrible and we need to do something about this,” said Dr. Huffman.

He agrees this data breach deserves more scrutiny.

”To be able to attack a government entity, or a state entity to the size of this it should be eye opening because this is definitely a massive data breach, but it’s not so massive it’s just doom and gloom,” said Dr. Huffman. “We can learn from this.”

He’s urging Colorado’s lawmakers to collaborate with cybersecurity and education professionals to answer some key questions.

”Do consumers need more power to delete their data? How can they delete their data from an educational institution? Should they be able to delete their data from an educational institution? Because you can do it in most other cases,” said Dr. Huffman.

Bailey knows it might be too late for protecting his information, but he hopes state leaders can get this right to protect future students like his daughter.

”I feel like the law makers, I feel like everybody should get their hands on this and they should try their best to protect not just for us, but for the kids that are coming behind us,” said Bailey.

If this is the first you’re learning of this data breach and want to check to see if it possibly impacts you or someone you know, this is the link to the notification: https://cdhe.colorado.gov/news-article/colorado-department-of-higher-education-provides-notice-of-data-incident

The state is offering two years of free credit monitoring for people impacted that you can sign up for.

If you have questions, or concerns there is a hotline you can call at (833) 301-1346 between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mountain Time, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain Time, Saturday and Sunday (excluding U.S. holidays).

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