Thousands in Hutchinson could be affected by data breach

Hutchinson Community Foundation

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – A major foundation in Reno County has fallen victim to a data breach.

Last month, the Hutchinson Community Foundation was notified that they had been hacked and personal and financial information might have been compromised.

Organization officials tell KSN the data breach was discovered on September 19th, after they opened a file and saw that it had been encrypted with Ransomeware. The virus encrypts files until a “ransom” is paid. Fortunately, the foundation had backed up all of its data.

The last several weeks, the Hutchinson Community Foundation has worked diligently to try to warn and protect the people that have given so much to the organization.

“We’ve been on a constant stream of urgency trying to figure out what the problem was how to fix it, and what to do protect our stakeholders,” said Aubrey Abbott-Patterson, President and CEO.

It’s been a whirlwind of emotions and sleepless nights for Abbott-Patterson the last three weeks.

“We contacted a security firm and found out that it is more than Ransomware, we had actual hackers in our system so we needed to go a little deeper and assume that our data has been compromised,” Abbott-Patterson explained.

Thousands of donors, stake holders, and vendors play a major role in the Hutchinson Community Foundation, and 5,500 of them could have their personal and financial information in jeopardy.

This week, those folks will receive a letter warning them of the potential risk.

“We want them to enroll in an identity monitoring service that we’ve purchased, free of charge to them. That’s our way of trying to protect the people that have been a part of the community foundation,” said Abbott-Patterson.

The foundation plays a big role for many in Hutchinson. Every year, it gives thousands to various grants and projects all around Reno County.

It’s an organization that thousands, like John Montgomery give to year after year. He says this incident was quite alarming.

“I feel a little violated and disappointed in the world,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery said once he receives his letter, he will enroll in the identity monitoring service, appreciative that the foundation is doing its best to protect its donors.

“It’s actually a great service, because your identity can be stolen in any number of ways,” added Montgomery.