Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nearly half of education-vendor websites tested had security problems, audit reveals - The Hechinger Report

Nearly half of education-vendor websites tested had security problems, audit reveals - The Hechinger Report:

Nearly half of education-vendor websites tested had security problems, audit reveals

Schools need to test encryption on sites teachers and students use

Nearly half of the more than 1,200 education technology vendor websites used by teachers and students, and checked in an October audit, did not include a secure log-in, according to a new survey.
This makes these programs vulnerable to a security breach – a school leader’s nightmare.


 “We want people to fix this,” said Bill Fitzgerald, director of the Privacy Initiative at Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that provides tools to help schools and parents assess the merits of technology and media use. “We don’t want to talk about encryption. We want to talk about pedagogy.”

Some might think that hackers only target high-profile groups such as politicians and banks – but that’s a mistake. Schools, both K-12 and higher education, have been victims, too. More than 780 breaches in schools, resulting in the disclosure of more than 14,790,000 records, have been reported since 2005, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a California-based nonprofit consumer advocate.
The survey by Fitzgerald’s team sought to find out how many programs support the use of encryption, which helps protect information online. The report found that only 51 percent of the educational program websites checked provided this protection. Both small and large companies that offer programs to schools provided websites without encryption. And in some cases the companies provided the security only for districts in states that mandate it. (To avoid compounding the problem, the report does not disclose the names of which programs have security problems.)
The consequences of a security breach can be devastating. Parents trust that school leaders are being careful, and even a small-scale problem can cause them to doubt if it’s worthwhile to use online programs in the classroom. And if teachers are using the same Nearly half of education-vendor websites tested had security problems, audit reveals - The Hechinger Report:
Parent Coalition for Student Privacy
Parent Coalition for Student Privacy - http://www.studentprivacymatters.org/

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