DALLAS, N.C. (WJZY) — Gaston College is facing a series of lawsuits relating to a data breach that happened earlier this year.
The college wrote on its website about the breach that, “the information potentially impacted varies by individual but may include name, date of birth, Social Security number, driver’s license number, financial account information, medical/treatment information, student information and employment information.”
The breach, which happened in February, took months to review, according to Gaston College.
Since that announcement, a number of civil filings were made in Gaston County, seeking class-action status on at least two cases.
Both filings indicate that the plaintiffs endured some sort of anxiety or undue stress in monitoring their credit and anything in their name.
But one suit, filed Oct. 4, indicates the plaintiff, a former Gaston College student, has been the victim of numerous spam emails, texts and phone calls that she claims increased since the February data breach.
That suit also alleges about 200,000 people could be affected by the breach. The college unveiled the details of the February breach on Aug. 25:
“Through the investigation, it was determined that there was unauthorized access to Gaston College’s network between February 21, 2023, and February 22, 2023. The investigation determined that the unauthorized actor acquired certain files and folders within our system during the period of access.”
The suits seek some sort of compensation. One of them also asks that Gaston College set up more stringent security measures to keep data safe.
The plaintiffs noted that credit monitoring for one year may not be enough, and cybersecurity experts that Queen City news spoke with agreed.
“The risk doesn’t end after one year,” said Sterling Technology Solutions CEO Tom Blanchard. “This information is unchanging. Those students will always have lived at those addresses and that social security number. These things are forever a risk for the students. And this information is used frequently for password verification.”
Queen City News reached out to Gaston College for comment but did not receive a response by our deadline.