IoT on campus: where it is and how to secure it

If you’re paying attention to the development and proliferation of “smart devices,” it can seem like they’re everywhere: internet-connected thermostats, cars, vending machines, surveillance cameras, televisions, fitness devices, and even light bulbs. But the omnipresence of tiny, embedded computers in everyday devices also has a way of making them invisible to most people. What is a network administrator to do with this invasion of connected, and thus hackable, devices?

Which “smart” devices are in schools?
While the variety of connected devices on campus may seem overwhelming, the ones you might have to worry about are only a subset of the problematic devices that are out there. Internet-connected cars are more likely to be on a cellular network than a school’s wireless network, and network admins probably have some authority to opine about whether connected thermostats or household appliances are allowed to connect. Hopefully, if “smart” vending machines or surveillance cameras are implemented, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in on which specific devices are allowed to join the network.

The more prolific (and uncontrolled) types of “smart devices” on campus are likely to be those brought by students, and it’s possible they may not even think of these devices as internet-connected until someone or something stops them from being connected. So how are you supposed to protect your network against the tide of unsecured internet of Things (IoTs)?…Read More

How to maintain the balance between security and privacy

We’re in a unique moment in history, where the negative consequences of organizations tracking our digital traffic are painfully clear. It’s certainly understandable that “security measures” can seem to many people more like intrusive surveillance than personal protection. But a lack of defenses will also have negative consequences for our safety and feeling of trust.

What can security professionals in higher ed do to maintain the balance between safety and privacy? Is it possible to maintain trust in the institution and yet enable users to explore safely?

The importance of context…Read More

The business of ed-tech: From blue lights to mobile apps

Once ridiculed, mobile technology is bolstering campus safety through innovative apps

mobile-appsIt was in a 2009 safety committee meeting with University of Florida (UF) officials that Jordan Johnson first mentioned the potential impact of mobile technology in bolstering campus safety.

Johnson, then the UF student body president, was met with blank stares and quizzical looks. He acknowledged web-connected smartphones would need to be more ubiquitous on campus before they became a vital part of safety and security measures, but the reaction was less than welcoming.

“It was mainly making a forwarding-thinking comment,” said Johnson, who proposed the use of mobile technology to boost security after a rash of attacks on UF students. “I know they didn’t really take me seriously though. It was pretty clear the idea was seen as ridiculous.”…Read More