Error! Your Data Will Not Be Yours Anymore

January 15, 2019

Education Cybersecurity Weekly is a curated weekly news overview for those who are concerned about the Education industry. It provides brief summaries and links to articles and news across a spectrum of cybersecurity and technology topics that are specific to the industry.

Bridgeport public schools, a K-12 district in Connecticut was hit by a cyberattack. Even Jedi knights may turn to the dark side. Speaking about the security specialists, this rule is also actual.

Trust but verify – smart assistants camouflage in educational process

EdTech Magazine on January 9, 2019

If there could be a rise of machines, their leaders would not be something new for us. Today your smart assistant helpfully advises you to take an umbrella as it is rainy outside but at any time it may unite with hackers and start transferring them your personal information.

When it comes to storing and using students’ data, the privacy issue remains especially crucial. While more and more universities are trying out Amazon Alexa and Google Home in order to personalize students’ experience, the security of such devices is a matter of the national concern.

Although both Google Home and Amazon Echo have privacy settings implying that the devices do not “listen” to random conversations, experts warn the technology can mishear phrases and “wake up,” performing actions, storing data and becoming a target for cybercriminals.

Thus, Alexa, what about the education cybersecurity?

K-12 district in Connecticut faced ransomware attack

EdScoop on January 9, 2019

Bridgeport public schools, a K-12 district in Connecticut was hit by a cyberattack. Malefactors dispatched a virus and encoded district data to hold it hostage for a ransom.

Actually, the district has not mentioned the amount of a required ransom or whether it will pay it or descript the locked data by itself. Although Jeffrey Postolowski, director of technology services, announced that there was no data theft, some teachers are still not able to access lesson plans and teaching materials. Nevertheless, faculty and students information saved on cloud-based platforms and the district’s PowerSchool platform was not affected.

To sum it up, the district staff was instructed to change passwords and not to bring personal computers to the office but the malicious actors are still unknown as well as the weak point that led to the attack. Considering that the most common hacking method in targeting K-12 districts remains phishing attempt, did it have a place to be this time?

May the Ethics be with you!

EdSurge on January 11, 2019

Even Jedi knights may turn to the dark side. Speaking about the security specialists, this rule is also actual. However, there is a solution to minimize losses in the ranks of cybersecurity defenders and the key is in their education.

In terms of the major data breaches and privacy scandals at tech companies like Facebook, universities are concerned with adding more talks of ethics into the technical degree programs.

One example is the Social Data Science Program at the University of Oxford that brings together social science and computational disciplines. In addition to programming, statistics, research methods, the 10-month master’s program attendants study philosophy, ethics of information, and other humanitarian subjects. While more and more universities integrate ethics approach into computer science, the question is what kind of ethics should be taught.

What probably isn’t being dealt with enough is the enormous ethical challenges that are part of our new technological world. I see this everywhere from reading about the way machine learning will reproduce stereotypes of different kinds, race and gender, and how everyone assumes a level of neutrality when it’s a machine.

Nicholas B. Dirks, the former Chancellor of the University of California

Edtech should be not only “in” but “for” schools

Entrepreneur India on January 8, 2019

Have you heard about the ecosystem? Yeah, it is something you diligently (or not) studied on your favorite biology lessons. But do not worry, in this news we would mention it only in comparison with the school system, trying to understand why school districts are frequently not open to collaboration with EdTech companies.

Like an ecosystem, a school system is dynamic but slow to change and, moreover, it is not less complicated. Thus, the key is to find alignment between the needs of the school system and the problems entrepreneurs should solve. For instance, the seemingly humble timetable. A faculty has to spend at least a month to match 7 subjects, 5 extracurricular activities, 5 days, 40 periods a week, 25 teachers, 15 sections but still, surprisingly, there is no application to simplify this process.

Therefore, trying to determine why schools are not open to the EdTech solutions and tools, we should first answer whether these technologies are suitable for the districts’ needs.

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