San Diego Unified School District advises students and staff to change passwords after cybersecurity threat

The San Diego Unified School District notified parents of a cybersecurity threat Dec. 1.
The San Diego Unified School District notified parents of a cybersecurity threat Dec. 1.

San Diego Unified School District officials notified parents of a cybersecurity threat Dec. 1 and advised all staff and students to change their school-related account passwords.

No safety or emergency mechanisms were affected and remain operational, Superintendent Lamont Jackson wrote in an email sent to parents. SDUSD operates five public schools in La Jolla.

After learning of the threat, district officials secured the network and launched an investigation, Jackson said. They also notified law enforcement.

District officials did not provide further information about what kind of cybersecurity incident occurred. Students will be given new passwords.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have changed all passwords for staff, and we will continue the process to change passwords for student accounts as a measure to continue strengthening our IT system,” the superintendent stated. “In the coming days, our school staff will work on providing new passwords for students on a schedule prepared by the district.”

“We want our students and the San Diego Unified community to know that we place a high value on maintaining the integrity and security of the data we hold in our systems and we are working diligently to complete our investigation of the incident,” Jackson said in the statement. “We will provide an additional update once our investigation is complete.”

This is not the first cybersecurity threat to affect a major Southern California school district in recent months.

A ransomware attack targeting the Los Angeles Unified School District prompted an unprecedented shutdown of its computer systems in September. The district mandated that 540,000 L.A. Unified students and 70,000 district employees change their passwords.

— City News Service contributed to this report.