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Pearson Hackers Access Thousands of Student Accounts

5 August 2019

From Inside Higher Ed:

The personal information of approximately 13,000 school and university students was exposed as the result of a cyberattack, publisher Pearson confirmed July 31.

In a statement, the company said the exposed data was limited to first name, last name and, in some instances, date of birth and/or email address.

Pearson said the vulnerability has been found and fixed. “We have no evidence that this information has been misused, we have notified the affected customers as a precaution,” the statement said.

Link to the rest at Inside Higher Ed

Pearson provides a lot of e-textbooks to students in the US.

Ebooks in Education

6 Comments to “Pearson Hackers Access Thousands of Student Accounts”

  1. Today the Wall Street Journal has an article about consumers getting jaded about hacks like this one, since they happen so very often.

    I’m not the least bit surprised. There have been multiple attempts to get into the gradebook software used by several private schools, because of all the names and dates-of-birth, among other info.

    • I have a hard time believing only 13,000 students were affected. Pearson is one of three major college textbook suppliers, and they’ve recently (spring of 2018), made a change at least in my discipline (history), that their books are *only* available in digital format. And not a nice, downloadable e-book, oh no. An embedded nightmare that doesn’t even have an index. After fighting with them for three quarters straight, I finally switched to a different book by a different publisher, because my students HATED the new system.

      I’m all for e-books, but this was a terrible change. If only 13k students get fallout from this I’ll eat my shoes.

      • Nicole – Unfortunately, Pearson’s priorities sometimes become more discernable for their customers than Pearson would like them to be.

        As you may know, various publications focused on the academic market – textbooks, academic journals, etc. – are extremely profitable, far moreso than trade publishing is.

        Major portions of academic publishing are controlled by a handful of large publishers, a much different group than trade publishers. One of the fundamental business tenets of this group is that prices and profits must be kept very high and meaningful price competition effectively eliminated.

        • One of my grad school profs would snarl, “Oh Elsevier!” when he did things like drop a rock-hammer into a stream or when the computer ate his data. Those of us who had been forced to buy article access or text books tended to second his motion.

      • A downloadable ebook can be readily copied. DRM is a joke.

        • Here’s one way to do this:

          Do screen snaps of the pages and use Adobe Bridge to string them together into a pdf, or just dump all the snapped jpegs into a Word file. Easy peasy, although a bit tedious. No OCR needed.

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