Application Security // Database Security
7/19/2013
05:29 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
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
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0761
Published: 2014-08-27
The DNP3 driver in CG Automation ePAQ-9410 Substation Gateway allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop or process crash) via a crafted TCP packet.

CVE-2014-0762
Published: 2014-08-27
The DNP3 driver in CG Automation ePAQ-9410 Substation Gateway allows physically proximate attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop or process crash) via crafted input over a serial line.

CVE-2014-2380
Published: 2014-08-27
Schneider Electric Wonderware Information Server (WIS) Portal 4.0 SP1 through 5.5 uses weak encryption, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information by reading a credential file.

CVE-2014-2381
Published: 2014-08-27
Schneider Electric Wonderware Information Server (WIS) Portal 4.0 SP1 through 5.5 uses weak encryption, which allows local users to obtain sensitive information by reading a credential file.

CVE-2014-3344
Published: 2014-08-27
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the web framework in Cisco Transport Gateway for Smart Call Home (aka TG-SCH or Transport Gateway Installation Software) 4.0 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters, aka Bug IDs CSCuq31129, CSCuq3...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.