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Oakwood University data breach prompts class-action suit

HUNTSVILLE — A class-action lawsuit related to a data security breach has been filed against Oakwood University.

The 32-page suit filed last month by Frances Diaz in U.S. District Court Southern District of California claims Oakwood officials were responsible for a large data breach in March that could have been prevented. That breach potentially allowed hackers access to Social Security information, driver’s license information, and financial information of students and employees, according to the suit.

The lawsuit can be viewed here.

According to a statement by the university, “On March 14, 2022, Oakwood University detected a computer security incident which impacted the availability and functionality of its computer systems. Upon learning of the incident, Oakwood University took measures to secure its network, launched an investigation, and engaged a cybersecurity firm to assist.

“The investigation determined that an unauthorized party accessed Oakwood University’s network between March 7, 2022 and March 14, 2022, and during that time, may have accessed (Healthcare Assistance) Plan information stored on Oakwood University’s systems.”

The Healthcare Assistance Plan is the university’s health-care plan for employees of the Seventh-day Adventist organization and their dependents. Oakwood said the accessed information may have included health plan member names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, member identification numbers, and/or limited claims information.

The suit is seeking relief for negligence, breach of implied contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unfair business practice.

According to the suit, Oakwood’s negligence is “exacerbated by repeated warnings and alerts directed to protecting and securing sensitive data, as evidenced by the trending data breach attacks in recent years.”

The university posted information about the incident on its website and also sent letters to students with an official statement from the school.

However, the suit claims the university was not quick enough to alert them about the possibility of the breach.

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