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More lawsuits filed over Knox College data breach from ransomware attack

Jimmy Thomas
Creative Commons

Two more class action lawsuits have been filed over the ransomware attack and data breach at Knox College that happened late last year.

Both suits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

One was filed on behalf of Rachael Morrissey. She was a Knox College student from 2012 to 2017.

The other was filed on behalf of Le’Andra Mosley. She attended Knox from 2019 to 2022.

Both suits said the hackers gained access to sensitive personal information, including Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and other information required by the college.

Both suits also state more than 63,000 people were affected.

Morrissey’s lawsuit said a ransomware group taking credit for the data breach claims it also accessed information such as medical records and psychological assessments.

The data breach happened on Nov. 24, 2022, but Morrissey said she was not notified until she received a letter from the college in early January.

She said many others might not know their information was compromised.

The Moseley lawsuit included information from Knox’s letter, including this section:

“(A)n unknown actor gained access to and obtained data from the Knox network without authorization on or around November 24, 2022. On December 7, 2022, after a comprehensive review of the potentially impacted data, Knox determined that personal information may have been involved. Since that time, Knox has worked diligently to identify current contact information needed to notify all potentially affected individuals.”

The letter also said the college reported the attack to the FBI. The letter said Knox has implemented additional security features to reduce the risk of a similar incident occurring in the future, and is providing those affected with information about steps they can take to help protect their personal information, including complimentary credit monitoring and identity protection services.

The Mosley lawsuit was filed on Feb. 3 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

Morrissey’s lawsuit was filed two days earlier in the same court.

Morrissey’s suit said those affected are entitled to compensatory, consequential, and other damages. It also calls for injunctive relief requiring Knox to strengthen its security systems and monitoring procedures.

Mosley’s suit said the victims are entitled to damages in an amount to be proven at trial. She is seeking actual, compensatory, and punitive damages.

The first lawsuit filed in the case came in mid-January and lists a Knox College graduate and others similarly situated as plaintiffs.

That former student is identified only as Jane Doe.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.