FBI Issues Warning for K–12 Schools on Student Data Privacy

Recent cybersecurity attacks on education technology companies has FBI warning schools to keep watch over student data.

Schools utilizing education technology may need to double down on cybersecurity as collections of student data become more common targets for cybercriminals, announces the Federal Bureau of Investigations in an alert, Tuesday.

According to the FBI, utilizing education technology offers a number of useful services, including “adaptive, personalized learning experiences, and unique opportunities for student collaboration,” as well help with administrative services. However, in exchange, education technology companies may have access to student information including biometrics, personal identifiable information and students’ geolocation

With two known cyber attacks on education technology companies in 2017, the FBI warns schools to take extra precaution to protect student data.

“Malicious use of this sensitive data could result in social engineering, bullying, tracking, identity theft, or other means for targeting children,” according to the alert. “Therefore, the FBI is providing awareness to schools and parents of the important role cybersecurity plays in the securing of student information and devices.”

In order to keep student data protected, the FBI recommends in the alert that schools and parents do the following:

  • Research existing student and child privacy protections of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), and state laws as they apply to EdTech services.
  • Discuss with their local districts about what and how EdTech technologies and programs are used in their schools.
  • Conduct research on parent coalition and information-sharing organizations which are available online for those looking for support and additional resources.
  • Research school-related cyber breaches which can further inform families of student data vulnerabilities.
  • Consider credit or identity theft monitoring to check for any fraudulent use of their children’s identity.
  • Conduct regular Internet searches of children’s information to help identify the exposure and spread of their information on the Internet.
Sep 21 2018