Major provider of research and evaluation of education suffers a data breach

The American Institutes for Research , a major research and testing organization with a significant presence in K -12 education in the United States , suffered a serious data breach earlier this month .After a hacked server in the organization , sensitive data of not less than 6,500 current and former employees , including social security numbers and information for personal credit card was compromised , confirmed in an interview Monday with a speaker Week Education AIR . No student or customer information been affected ."The injury only affected our business systems ," said Larry McQuillan , director of public relations of the organization . " By design , the student data resides on a system of external information from the field that was affected independently. "RIA based in Washington has hundreds of contracts with federal , state and local authorities , including the United States department of agriculture, trade , defense, education , health and social services , and more , according to the group's website . The organization has to districts a major provider of online reviews and pencil and paper and states , including Delaware , Minnesota and Oregon. They have advised users to save their passwords in documents and save them in  gadgets like USB Cards and with  promotional usb cards

AIR also has contracts with the Consortium Smarter Balanced Assessment , one of two large multi-state consortia developing online assessments to meet the new Common Core State Standards aligned and the organization provides the evaluation of educational programs and value-added services for evaluating teachers in a number of states and districts . It is noteworthy that RA is currently involved in a lawsuit awarded a lucrative contract with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for college career. ( The executive vice president of AIR , Gina Burkhardt , is also a member of the Board of Editorial Projects in Education , the publisher of Education Week . )

President and CEO David Myers alerted AIR employee injury through a letter dated May 14, 2014 was obtained from a copy of the training week ." Monday May 12, 2014 , we found that unencrypted (plain text ) personal information about current and former employees of RA may have been accessed by a hacker incident," the letter says . " At this time we have no evidence that any information has been accessed or misused. "

In addition to defining a " digital forensics firm " to investigate the hacker , AIR also offers free monitoring for those who may be affected credit service, even if it is so far no evidence that any employee sensitive information from the server have been downloaded ." We [ the staff ] notified because they do not want to wait and find out that something bad happened," McQuillan said .

Joseph Hawkins , a team of AIR in 1998 and 1999 , was among those who reported the injury .

" I am concerned that my personal information is not supported ," Hawkins , who now works as a senior study director at Westat , a research organization and statistics, in Rockville , Maryland based " Because air is constantly with [ customers ] said , requiring the highest security and encryption that they can not do for their own employees , which to me is a serious problem . "