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Articles: Cybersecurity

AI will also have a big impact on network and data security.

The best way to keep a school’s computers free of malware while securing student and teacher identities is to use a layered approach powered by artificial intelligence in the cloud.

Just about every antivirus program has three overlapping defenses:


Link to main story: AI accelerates in K12


Schools should create student contracts in the classroom and develop device-usage guidelines that clarify “good behaviors.” (Gettyimages.com: jesadphorn).

Nearly 30 percent of U.S. high school students admitted to using a connected device to cheat on a classroom exam or project, according to a recent survey.

During the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit 2017 this past summer, analyst Earl Perkins, research vice president, explained four top trends. (Gettyimages.com: hywards).

Before this new school year started, the Hartford Union High School District in Wisconsin wanted to hire a tech expert to oversee the district’s network.

School leaders want more autonomy on how they access and report data. They also have more assets to keep track of when they shift to 1-to-1 learning or other programs that provide students with tech devices.

Many states lack well-defined computer science standards; others don’t count computer science courses toward core graduation requirements. And in many districts, computer science courses aren’t reaching enough students.

Fast disappearing from schools are internet “lock and block” policies that keep students off social media and restrict them to carefully curated websites. Even with sophisticated filters and firewalls, today’s learners carry all the access in the world in their back pockets.

By combining the plumbing of the internet with heavy-duty encryption, a VPN can help keep a district’s secrets. Under the surface, VPNs use a technique known as tunneling to create an encrypted data path from sender to receiver and back.

How a VPN sidetracks the internet, keeping the data at your school secure.

Schools thrive on free and open exchanges of information, but as soon as a principal reviews attendance records or examines student grades held on a district server, that openness must end.

The IRS is warning district officials: Be wary of phishing scams targeting tax forms and other sensitive employee data. Over two dozen school districts have fallen victim to these attacks in recent months.

Phishing attacks often involve receiving an email with an attachment or link from what appears to be a colleague’s email address.

It’s typically altered by just one letter—for example, instead of j.jones@schoolsample.org, it may be j.jones@schoolsanple.org (the “m” is replaced with an “n”). A user may not notice the subtle character change and click on an attachment (unleashing a virus or malware), or follow a link to a phony site that lures them into revealing private information.

Nationally, ransomware attacks surged from 4 million incidents in 2015 to nearly 638 million last year—a jump of 15,850 percent—according to a report from network security firm SonicWall.

At Mountain Brook Schools in Alabama, Technology Director Donna Williamson, left, and her tech team still use their on-site server because they didn’t see savings with the cloud.

A convergence of market maturity, increased availability of high-capacity bandwidth and a track record of security has more K12 districts trusting their mission-critical administrative software to the cloud.

Cyber insurance policies protect digital and print data, such as student and staff social security numbers, addresses and payroll.

Cyberattacks on high-profile companies such as Target and The Home Depot have driven a growing number of school CIOs and administrators to purchase cyber insurance policies in attempts to avoid costly litigation from a data breach.

Such policies protect digital and print data, such as student and staff social security numbers, addresses and payroll. The insurance often covers notification and investigation costs, legal assistance, and sometimes media relations after a breach.

How to be a good digital citizen (Click to enlarge)

The rapid spread of 1-to-1, BYOD and online lessons in K12 districts has brought the concept of digital citizenship—the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use—to the forefront for school administrators.

School superintendents and principals should promote, model and establish policies for safe, legal and ethical use of digital technology, as well as responsible social interactions, according to the ISTE Standards for Administrators, released last May.

ool credits the Cyber Civics curriculum with raising test scores and eliminating poor digital student behavior.

Test scores have improved and online bullying incidents have been virtually eliminated at a California school that added weekly digital literacy instruction to its curriculum five years ago.

In response to an online bullying incident in 2010, parent Diana Garber and Journey School, a public K8 charter with 400 students in California’s Capistrano USD, created the Cyber Civics curriculum for the middle school grades.

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