Done a search on Instagram or other social media sites and found your school districts or school represented inappropriately? If so, you’re not alone! My own children use Instagram avidly as THE site to share images, connect and interact via social media. Twitter, Facebook…not so much.
According to Nielsen, for example, Instagram is the top photography site among teens ages 12 to 17, with 1 million teens visiting the site during July. Nielsen doesn’t categorize Instagram as a social network. While Flickr was top photo site for the overall population in July, Instagram was the favorite among teens, Nielsen found. (Source: CNET)
It should come as no surprise that students are launching attacks on school district systems and coordinating those attacks using social media. Other bad things are happening too:
- Teacher bullying students on Instagram
- Student bullying on Instagram
- Closing school after anonymous Instagram threat
- Parents mad about school posting student images on Instagram
Many school districts might want to take advantage of Family Online Safety Institute’s (FOSI) Good Digital Parenting’s overview of Instagram tip sheet (shown right).
Consider this District Administration article on Defending Data Security (April, 2015); MyNotes from the article include the following:
- Last year, two high school students shut down the network for the entire Community Unit School District 303 in Illinois for more than a month. The students learned from a gaming environment how to launch the attack with their smartphones.
- The district also has two data centers. In the event the first one becomes flooded with unwanted traffic, IT can switch all users to the second one.
- “DDoS attacks are fairly new to districts, and the potential cost and changes to mitigate them are usually complex and/or expensive,” says John Connolly, chief technology officer at District 230. “Educational and private companies typically make the changes after they have been hit by these attacks. I anticipate that this will be standard security practice for school districts and private companies over the next one to two years.”
- The district is considering software (a DDoS-mitigation solution) that would automatically shut down an attack without requiring the second step of manual intervention. The district hasn’t purchased the software yet because of the high cost; however, the price is dropping, says Connolly.
District Feedback: “We use an Exinda system to throw away malformed packets as well as recognize and then ignore large amounts of traffic emanating from one or multiple IP addresses towards another. We also block all unnecessary ports. This might tell me who if they are anonymous but it will stop the attack. Or at least it has stopped all so far.”
“We rely on SolarWinds in lieu of Exinda, but the result is similar.”
Some are offering sessions like the one to be held in Georgetown, Texas, focused on Investigative Techniques Using Social Networking Sites. Some of the topics, which you can explore in the flyer below, include Linux and data forensics type topics. No doubt, users will leave with free copies of digital forensics tools on ISOs loaded on USB/compact discs. I wonder which of the many they will recommend!