Information Security in Education/Security Awareness
Our rapidly increasing technology including a global network has allowed educators the opportunity to create, communicate and store information in incredible ways. Students have access to instant information. Classes can learn with peers who live on the other side of the globe. School systems can store and access information on students, staff and operational issues with ease.
In addition, many schools/districts are being rewarded grants that allow for the purchase of technology tools to which they otherwise would never have had financial access. Entire districts are being set up with laptops, LCD projectors, and other tech tools including staff training and mentoring for Classrooms for the Future grants. Here is a link that provides information on Classrooms for the Future
Unfortunately, with all of this wonderful technology available, there are several security concerns that arise. It is our duty as school staff members and parents to work together to keep our children safe while using these technology tools. Here is an incomplete list of security issues brought on by technology integration:
- Students/staff downloading unauthorized software with viruses
- Students, staff or outsiders hacking into confidential information
- Staff/students accessing, distributing, and/or downloading illegal material via the school network
- Hardware being stolen or damaged
- Students/staff using technology communication tools to bully/harass/intimidate/etc. others
- Denial of Service (DOS) attacks from outsiders or insiders
- Students/staff displaying or sharing passwords
Because of these issues listed above (and more) there is a need to train our staff and students in the area of security awareness. There are important steps for all members of an organization to take in order to keep our school community and network system safe. This wikibook page will attempt to provide security awareness training to both staff members and students of an education organization. Of course, this information is not comprehensive and school administrators need to be aware and proactive in the dissemination of this information. Please see the [Administrator Awareness] section of this wikibook for more information.
Teachers have many safety issues to be concerned with when it comes to keeping their students safe. The rise of technology use in the classroom has developed its own set of safety issues. Unfortunately, many (if not most) teachers are not equipped or trained to prevent some basic safety precautions to take with their students when using technology.
The Internet is widely used among teachers in classroom projects. Students use it for seeking information quite regularly. Unfortunately, school/district internet filters cannot possibly filter out everything that is bad for kids to see. Due to this problem, teachers are faced with educating their students in using the Internet safely. The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science EducationCIESE has come up with a web page that is excellent for teaching students and teachers about Internet safety and safety software. TeacherVision is another great site, however it requires a subscription (there is a free trial.)
For your students
Here are some tips that teachers can use to make sure they are on the right path to keeping their students safe:
- Check to see if the school/district has an AUP (Acceptable Use Policy). Most schools/districts do have one.
- Read through this policy with your students in plain language that they can understand.
- Make sure that students and parents are aware of this policy by requiring them to sign and return the policy stating that they have read it. Your school administrator may have this procedure already in place.
- If you have a web page, do NOT post your students names on the page. Use a nickname (or pseudonym).
- Student work is great to post. Just make sure that you do NOT have student pictures posted without written consent of the parent/guardian.
- Make sure that any content posted on your class web page meets your school’s/district’s AUP requirements.
- When teaching lessons requiring internet use by students, provide students with links to reviewed kid-safe sites for that activity to limit searches that result in inappropriate content.
- ALWAYS be present when students go online for activities.
- DO NOT leave lesson plans for substitutes that require Internet/computer use.
- Insist that students do not share their passwords or write them down. Provide consequences for those who do to enforce this policy.
- Keep students’ passwords in a protected and secure place such as a personal electronic file which cannot be accessed by students.
- Keep computers facing the center of the classroom so that you can always see what is on the screen.
- Provide parents with information regarding assisting and monitoring Internet use by their child. A great site to give parents is the FBI’s Parent Guide to Internet Safety.
- The following link provides teachers with a great cyberbullying video that all students should watch: Comcast iSafe Video
Here are some tips that teachers can use to keep themselves safe when using the internet:
- Familiarize yourself with the section in this wikibook entitled [Legal Issues].
- Familiarize yourself with ways that students can hack into a school network system. You can find information by visiting the section in this wikibook entitled [School Hacking].
- Make sure you read and understand your district’s/school’s AUP. If you don’t, ask your technology administrator to help explain it to you.
- Memorize your network passwords. NEVER assume that a student couldn’t find it somewhere that you think it’s hidden. DON’T leave your passwords around-like stuck to the side of your desk or on your monitor.
- Do not trust anyone, including other staff members, with your password.
- Log in only when there are no people near your computer.
- Do NOT give out personal information including passwords to ANYONE over the phone, even if they say they are with your school’s IT department. This is a good trick played by hackers.
- Log out and shut down your computer whenever you leave your room.
- Do NOT log in and allow a substitute, student or other staff member to use your computer unless you are right there with them the entire time.
- Have a school technician check your classroom computers for the history of websites surfed to make sure no inappropriate sites are being accessed especially if you share a classroom or have a substitute.
Here are tips to help keep your electronic equipment in good condition and safe for students/yourself to use. The following site is also helpful for computer hardware safety and care: PC World Computer Care
- Keep all cords out of walkways/aisles. Overheads, LCDs, etc. are costly. Teachers tend to place them in the middle aisle of a classroom with cords easily stepped/tripped on. Take the time to unplug, roll up and store cords.
- Wipe down all electronic equipment with a slightly damp cloth every few weeks to keep it free from dust. Electronics tend to gather dust quickly and can damage parts. There are also several products that allow you to clean smudges off your computer screen without damaging it.
- Keep all electronics in a locked area/room. Do not give your key to unauthorized users (especially students).
- Make sure you monitor student use of any electronic device at all times.
- Do not plug electronics directly into a wall socket. A surge protector will go a long way in protecting electronic devices.
- Do not allow students to hook up any type of personal (non-school issued) electronic device to school devices.
- Do not allow anyone (students or staff) to eat or drink near electronic equipment, ESPECIALLY COMPUTERS!
- Do not allow students to download software, use personal jump/thumb drives or use any type of unauthorized disk in the computer without your direct supervision. Software may usually never be downloaded by anyone except the technology administrator in a school system. Check your AUP regarding this topic before you download anything on to a school issued computer.
SafeKids.com is an effective site for finding out lots of information about technology safety for kids including cell phone safety, Internet safety and more. The following list includes some of the tips for safety that this website provides.
Safe at School
- Never give any passwords to anyone (even friends). That includes locker combinations, lunch passwords, Internet passwords, or your student ID number.
- Never keep anything expensive in your locker. Locks can be picked/hacked.
- Follow the rules of your school. Report any bad behavior to a school official. It’s the right thing to do.
- Treat school equipment with respect. It is there for you to use. Why ruin it?
- Report bullying. You wouldn’t want it to happen to you. It could happen to even the most popular person you know.
- Don’t give out personal information to other students.
- Don’t let other students borrow your cell phone, laptop, iPod, etc. They may not treat it like you would, even if they are your friend.
- Don't go on internet sites that are not pre-approved by your teacher.
- Let a teacher know if someone is cyberbullying you or on a site that you know is wrong or makes you uncomfortable.
Cell Phone Safety
- Don't let other people use your cell phone.
- If you can't have a cell phone on you at school, leave it at home. It could get stolen out of your locker.
- Talk with your parents about your texting plan and how much it costs or how many texts you can send per month. It can get very expensive for you and your parents.
- Don't text back to anyone that you don't recognize and trust.
- Some cell phones have GPS systems (locator system). Be careful that you don't give information out or communicate with someone that you don't know or trust. They could locate you.
- Do not try and download illegal material (like child pornography) from your cell. It is illegal and can be traced.
- Do not bully anyone using your phone and report anyone who may be bullying you (through texts, calling, or web applications)to the authorities or at least to your parents or a teacher.
- Do NOT EVER send pictures of yourself or anyone else to someone you don't know or trust.
- DO NOT EVER send nude pictures of yourself or others. Those pictures could be accessed forever and put on line for all to see.
You may want to view this Bullying Video. It is an iSafe video produced by Comcast and can be used as an example of how harmful bullying can be.
Sexting is referred to as sending nude photos of yourself or others or sending pornographic material to others using your cell phone or other electronic devices. See the Sexting Tips section of SafeKids.com.
- It could be a form of bullying. Don't do it.
- It is against the law. You can get in big trouble.
- Your pictures could get sent to people you don't want them to. They could harass you or post them on other sites.
If you are sending nude photos to others:
- STOP. Explain your situation to your parents. They may be able to help you before others report you to the police.
If you are receiving nude photos of others:
- DO NOT forward them. It is illegal.
- Talk to your parents immediately about the situation.
- If a friend is sending them, talk to the friend about the trouble they could get in with the law. The law can track these kinds of things without anyone telling on you.
Grooming is when people try to form a relationship with a child online or using texting. At first is seems like the adult is nice by saying flattering things to the child or teenager. The adult's goal is to have sex, possible rape and/or hurt the child/teenager. They try to build trust with the young person. Check out the How to Recognize Grooming section of SafeKids.com for some great examples of how these adult predators (pedophiles) try to trick kids and teenagers.
Here are a few safety tips to keep this from happening:
- Don't communicate with people you don't know whether it's online, texting, etc.
- Tell your parents if a strange person keeps trying to communicate with you.
- Someone might tell you that they are a kid/teenager when really they are not. Don't believe what strangers say.
- Don't agree to meet with anyone in person unless you are with your parents or guardians.
- The online predator might tell you that they have a modeling job, money or other attractive things for you. Don't believe it.
- Block messages from strangers, whether they seem like adults, teens or children.
- Let your parents know who you communicate with.