Keeping the masses safe on the internet

Recognizing that all the technology in the world can’t protect the internet from attacks, the security industry is targeting an education campaign at the weakest link, CNET reports: computer users. It’s the first public service message of its kind in the U.S., and it’s simple: Stop. Think. Connect. Unveiled Oct. 6 at Intel’s headquarters, the campaign is part of Cyber Security Awareness Month, an annual event since October 2001, and was organized by the National Cyber Security Alliance, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, and more than two dozen government agencies and companies. The goal is to get security precautions to become second nature, like looking both ways before crossing a street, covering your mouth when coughing, and washing hands frequently. A security frame of mind needs to be built into the culture of society, starting at the ground level with end users, said Phil Reitinger, deputy undersecretary for the national protection and programs directorate at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Security experts are constantly admonishing people to keep their anti-virus software up to date, but that doesn’t matter if users fall for social engineering phishing attacks, which have become commonplace on the web. Engineers who used to blame end users and complain that “you can’t fix stupid” have come around to realizing that they can’t ignore the human factor, and there is a science to changing peoples’ behavior. Making security easy and understandable will have a larger impact on web security than throwing sophisticated tools at the problem, they acknowledge…

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Public access to school computers raises questions


Opening school computer labs for community access raises some concerns.
Opening school computer labs for community access raises some concerns.


A move that will let schools use federal e-Rate funds to help their stakeholders get online by opening up their computer labs to the community after school hours has left some educators wondering how schools might let adults view age-appropriate web sites while still protecting children from inappropriate content.…Read More

Top 10 ed-tech stories of 2009: No. 10

Schools are focusing more than ever on internet safety education.
Schools are focusing more than ever on internet safety education.

In November, the Federal Communications Commission proposed new rules stating that schools and libraries receiving federal e-Rate funding would have to submit proof they’ve implemented web-safety education programs along with their applications.

The new rules came in response to legislation passed late last year requiring schools to teach their students about safe and responsible internet use. But many schools didn’t wait for the FCC’s action, instead taking a proactive approach to compliance with the new law.

Judi Westberg Warren, president of the internet safety-education group Web Wise Kids, said earlier this year that her organization has seen an increased number of schools reaching out to Web Wise Kids for guidance on how to properly educate students and teachers about internet safety.…Read More