Doug Bedell — August 17, 2020, 11:55 am

‘Dear Old Golden Rule Days’…Schools Face Security Threats

Security is going to K-12 schools, Byron V. Acohido advises on The Last Watchdog blog.

“Parents have long held a special duty to protect their school-aged children from bad actors on the Internet,” Acohido writes. “Now COVID-19 has dramaticlly and permanently expanded that parental responsibility, as well as extended it to ill-prepared school officials in K-12 campuses all across the nation. The prospect of remotely taught lessons remaining widespread for some time to come has profound privacy and cybersecurity implications, going forward.

“Overnight, those in charge must learn how to operate all of our elementary, junior high and high schools as if they were digital-native startups. Students, parents and teachers at each K-12 facility, henceforth, need to be treated as the equivalent of remote workers given to using a wide variety of personally-owned computing devices and their favorite cloud services subscriptions. And it must be assumed that many of them are likely ignorant of good cyber hygiene practices.”

An example: “Zoom-bombing” entered our lexicon soon after schools began their first attempts at using the suddenly indispensable video conferencing tool to conduct classes online. Attackers quickly figured how to slip obscenities and even pornographic videos into live classes.

“This was an early indicator of how far most schools have to go in adopting an appropriate security posture.”

Classrooms will be out in the Internet open. Watch out, teachers, superintendents and parents.

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