The Hutchinson Community Foundation is making donors, vendors and other stakeholders aware of a data breach that might have compromised personal and financial information.
Letters explaining the nature of the breach and the steps being taken to remedy the situation will be delivered to affected individuals this week, and donors and others with relationships with the Community Foundation are asked to be looking for this communication.
The breach came to the Community Foundation staff’s attention Sept. 19 when ransomware was discovered on the foundation’s network server. Ransomware encrypts files until a “ransom” is paid. Fortunately, the foundation’s IT service provider was able to restore all data from a backup and no ransom was paid; however, the security violation could have allowed hackers access to files and databases on the server.
“The Hutchinson Community Foundation’s network was well-protected with data backup, and while staff also had confidence it was secure, you never know at what remote point of vulnerability a resourceful hacker might gain access,” said John Montgomery, Hutchinson Community Foundation board chairman. “It goes to show that no one is immune, including our charitable institutions.”
To help relieve concerns and restore confidence following this incident, the Community Foundation is providing identity monitoring at no cost to affected parties. The letter details the services and how to use them and also provides a call center phone number as a resource.
“We pride ourselves in our relationships with donors, service providers and others in the philanthropic community. Confidentiality and discretion are at the core of our business ethic. Though the likelihood of identity theft to affected people may be small, we are offering these protections out of an abundance of caution,” said Aubrey Abbott Patterson, Hutchinson Community Foundation president & CEO.
“We encourage everyone who receives a letter from us to use the ID number provided to enroll in the identity monitoring services. We want our stakeholders to be assured we are taking action to safeguard them and to reinforce the security of our stored data from future cyber threats,” Patterson said.
Not all donor records stored in the Community Foundation’s database contained financial or other sensitive information. Because those donors are not thought to be at any risk, they will not receive a letter of notification.