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News

(ISC)2 Survey Reveals Extent of Internet Security Exposure in Schools

ISC Squared : 10 February, 2010  (Technical Article)
On Safer Internet Day, (ISC)2 discusses the additional work that needs to be done to make internet use in schools safer and more secure
Safer Internet Day on 9th February provides an opportunity to acknowledge not just how much the Internet has become a part of young people's lives but how much has already been done and continues to be done to ensure it is a secure, healthy and enjoyable place for them to be. Government, schools and society itself is facing up to this significant challenge.

John Colley is managing director of (ISC)2, a non profit organisation which runs a program helping volunteers visit schools, clubs and parent evenings. They also support council appointed e-safety officers in their efforts to promote Internet Safety and Security. He says, "We must realise that it is the young people that continue to use the internet in new ways and take risks in a world where their parents and teachers are ill-equipped to guide them. Children are only just beginning to understand how to protect themselves online."

Colley suggests that it is important that kids receive guidance on security online as well as safety, since they have little understanding of how their actions present risks for themselves, friends, family or even the work place. Findings from the classroom sessions demonstrate:

Personal safety is not the only concern

* 85% of over 750 kids in one school said they had personal computers in their bedrooms, with 75% of them admitting to being online after 11 pm on a school night.
·
* About half the children visited by volunteers admit to using peer to peer networks to download music illegally, allowing the accidental download of malware to present a much more prolific risk than paedophilia, affecting both the schools' systems and parents' work systems as well as the personal information kids are counselled to keep safe. (Malware allows their computers allows passwords to be hijacked or information and identities to be stolen.)

* Children share their parents home or work computers and take homework to school on unprotected memory sticks
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* Half of the students didn't secure their or their home computer log in with passwords.

Kids are interacting with people they don't know:

* Out of the 774 11-14 years old that attended sessions with a volunteer in one school, Over 443 (nearly 60%) had contacts on their list that they had never met. Ninety one ( over 11%) had agreed to meet someone that they had never met, most of them in a public park. Five came forward and admitted to having been groomed and were referred for consultation with the person in the school responsible for child protection.

* Another Volunteer found that 40% of the first 800 children he reached out to through the program, had chat buddies that they did not know, with a small number of girls admitting they had been asked by a friend, they do not know in 'real life', if they wished to meet up and a few admitting to adding friends on their social networks that they were not sure about.

Colley observes: "We need to address the total impact of this new world on our children. Too many are coming to school too tired to learn, while they don't realise the risks of their computers being hijacked or having their, or their parents', information and identity stolen. The threat to parents using Internet banking is obvious, while personal photos don't have to be posted on Facebook to be at risk. We need to understand that there is no safety without security and ensure our kids are empowered to act responsibly."


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