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[PLUGGED IN] District Security


September 2007

Attacking the Hackers


According to the San Diego-based nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, more than 155 million social security numbers, bank account numbers, and driver’s license numbers have been compromised nationwide by various means since 2005. In fact, in schools across the nation, there have been a number of serious information security breaches due to lax computer security in just the last few months. In January, for example, a former high school student in Oregon, Ohio, obtained sensitive staff and student information through an apparent security breach; the data included names, birth dates, social security numbers, addresses, and phone numbers. In March, social security numbers of another public school’s employees became available on the Internet when a Yahoo! Web crawler infiltrated the insecure server of the school’s technology department. A new study by CDW Government aims to suss out why schools are so vulnerable to information theft. Its survey of 381 school district IT and security directors revealed:Over-reliance on software to protect students, faculty, and district networks from threats, while safety education is not a priority

Tech-savvy students are sidestepping security measures by creating proxy servers, opening up their district networks and themselves to unnecessary risk

Modern emergency communication knowledge still lags, with the majority of districts preferring the phone over more efficient methods

Lack of budget, staff resources, and proper tools hinder districts’ ability to properly protect themselves

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