Application Security // Database Security
7/19/2013
05:29 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Edmodo Upgrades Student, Teacher Security, After Criticism

Network engineer and parent who complained of Edmodo's inadequate use of SSL encryption says "they've made a few million kids a lot safer."

Although network security is not his professional specialty, Porterfield began educating himself on issues such as session hijacking after noticing that many websites managing children's data seemed to have lax information security practices.

In May, he was also quoted in a Mother Jones feature on how other websites such as Shutterfly fail to adequately protect data about children. In that case, what caught his attention was a promotional connection between the website and the American Youth Soccer Organization.

"I was an AYSO coach for my younger son last fall, and I went to a coach training session where I was given a flyer about how to set up a Shutterfly account for my team," Porterfield told Mother Jones. "So I went on, I set up a roster, and then I realized right away that there was no SSL security. I couldn't believe it. I thought: 'We're protecting our credit cards, but we're not protecting our kids?'" He was concerned about what a child predator might do with access to a team account that would include pictures of the children along with their names and other information about them.

Similarly, even though Edmodo says its service is not intended to amass personal information about children, it collects plenty of information that could be misused, Porterfield said.

What concerns him more is that poor support for or improperly implemented Web security seems to be commonplace across educational apps. Now that it has addressed its own shortcomings, Porterfield said he hopes to see Edmodo follow through by requiring more attention to security from its app store partners.

The latest updates to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) state that in addition to its own "reasonable procedures" for protecting the privacy of children's data, software and service providers must "must also take reasonable steps to release children's personal information only to service providers and third parties who are capable of maintaining the confidentiality, security and integrity of such information, and who provide assurances that they will maintain the information in such a manner."

However, the loophole seems to be a vague reference to "commercially reasonable" measures for protecting data, Porterfield said. "I think SSL is commercially reasonable. You've got to be extra careful when it's kids you're dealing with."

Follow David F. Carr at @davidfcarr or Google+, along with @IWKEducation.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
What's This?
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-7877
Published: 2014-10-30
Unspecified vulnerability in the kernel in HP HP-UX B.11.31 allows local users to cause a denial of service via unknown vectors.

CVE-2014-3051
Published: 2014-10-29
The Internet Service Monitor (ISM) agent in IBM Tivoli Composite Application Manager (ITCAM) for Transactions 7.1 and 7.2 before 7.2.0.3 IF28, 7.3 before 7.3.0.1 IF30, and 7.4 before 7.4.0.0 IF18 does not verify X.509 certificates from SSL servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof s...

CVE-2014-3668
Published: 2014-10-29
Buffer overflow in the date_from_ISO8601 function in the mkgmtime implementation in libxmlrpc/xmlrpc.c in the XMLRPC extension in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) via (1) a crafted first argument t...

CVE-2014-3669
Published: 2014-10-29
Integer overflow in the object_custom function in ext/standard/var_unserializer.c in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (application crash) or possibly execute arbitrary code via an argument to the unserialize function ...

CVE-2014-3670
Published: 2014-10-29
The exif_ifd_make_value function in exif.c in the EXIF extension in PHP before 5.4.34, 5.5.x before 5.5.18, and 5.6.x before 5.6.2 operates on floating-point arrays incorrectly, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (heap memory corruption and application crash) or possibly exec...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.