On January 27, the FTC finalized an order with an education technology (ed tech) provider which claimed that the provider’s lax data security practices led to the exposure of millions of users and employees’ sensitive information, including Social Security numbers, email addresses, and passwords. As previously covered by InfoBytes, due to the company’s alleged failure to adequately protect the personal information collected from its users and employees, the company experienced four data breaches beginning in September 2017, when a phishing attack granted a hacker access to employees’ direct deposit information. Claiming violations of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, the FTC alleged the company failed to implement basic security measures, stored personal data insecurely, and failed to implement a written security policy until January 2021, despite experiencing three phishing attacks.
Under the terms of the final decision and order, the company (who neither admitted nor denied any of the allegations) is required to take several measures to address the alleged conduct, including: (i) implementing a data retention and deletion process, which will allow users to request access to and deletion of their data; (ii) providing multi-factor authentication methods for users to secure their accounts; (iii) providing notice to affected individuals; (iv) implementing a comprehensive information security program; and (v) obtaining initial and biennial third-party information security assessments. The company must also submit covered incident reports to the FTC and is prohibited from making any misrepresentations relating to how it collects, maintains, uses, deletes, permits, or denies access to individuals’ covered information.
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