Bid Adieu to Vulnerabilities
May 2011

Bid Adieu to Vulnerabilities

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e-Learning in K-12 education, college education, competitive or professional courses have many security challenges.There is a pressing need for solution providers to address these issues

By Pragya Gupta, digital LEARNING Bureau

E-Learning has been realised as one of the biggest tools in the education reform strategies. ICT in education has taken various shapes with the changing time from one sided learning tool to social learning. Today’s Learning 2.0 is out of the conventional e-learning systems based on instructional packets using internet technologies, however, new e-learning emphasis on the use of social platforms like blog, wikis, podcasts and virtual worlds.

It is becoming more and more popular as universities strive to cut costs and reach larger students who are adopting e-learning solutions. Considering the huge costs involved in creating and maintaining courses, security has not yet been considered as an important issue.

With the increasing popularity and penetration of e-learning solutions, emerging security risks are making systems vulnerable. Protecting digital content from copying, printing and distribution should become an integral part of content generation, especially when relying on revenue generation for that work. Protection of both the information and the tools are of equal importance. There are number of issues that can create nuisance among practitioners like Secrecy which is one of the key issues. They need to be ensured that objects are strictly accessible to the authorised person and the person they are not granted access to information must not see or modify data or programmes. New grade based examination system has given the need of non-repudiation. It is mandatory to keep track on whenever grades of students are changed and it must be possible to reliably trace who has performed the modification and also deny the person with unauthorised access.

e-Learning in K-12 education, college education, competitive or professional courses have many security challenges and there is no single solution, which can address those challenges largely.

Sharing solutions, Rana Gupta, Safenet says, “Earlier there were many touch points in education at the backend, inviting paper leaks and information leaks but now only authorised users have access to particular information and data modification. However, the management is important. There are rising threats related to IP, content and applications security for which we offer right management products called Safenet Right Management (SRM) products to manage rights for e-learning. It helps in encrypt the content which is accessible by those who have token to decrypt that can be in the shape of hardware, software or a combination.

The youth today is very active on social networking as they use this platform to keep themselves abreast with information and stay in touch with friends, it thus opens up a good hunting ground for Cyber Criminals. According to the Amit Nath, Country Manager India and SAARC, Trend Micro, “Cyber criminals misuse the credibility and popularity of such sites for their own benefits. They could play with users’ personal information in order to commit ID theft. For example: recently, cyber criminals used Twitter as a technique to lure users into clicking a malicious link. Since Twitter is a trusted source, users May think the email they received is legitimate.”

He further suggested that students thereby should realise the significance of the kind of information they are uploading on the web. Personal information such as date of birth, email, job and marital status should not be shared on the Internet as criminals can access such valuable information to steal the identity of an individual.

It is also observed that there is a significant increase in traffic to different community blogs or portals. The criminals also have become quite active on these sites. It is also important for users of these community sites to be wary of messages received, even if supposedly sent from friends. With some crafty social engineering, unsuspecting users May visit the first of the fake pages, where they discover they cannot view their video and are told to download an updated version of Adobe Flash Player or another plug-in or codec. A second fake page informs users that the video they were trying to view cannot be shown, making users think nothing has occurred when, in fact, downloading the supposed plug-in imported malware.

With the increasing threats, for secure computing and adequate trust and confidence in the electronic transactions, Department of Information Technology, Government of India has come up with the National Cyber Security policy’s draft and invited stake holders’ response. The draft proposed that the children and small and home users on the internet for criminal, special campaigns are required to promote an acceptable and safe use of information technology. This combines the knowledge of the needs of protection while understanding the power of information technology. In addition, campaign May also be directed to raise the awareness among the parents about the means of helping children to go online safely.

Awareness is an important tool for creating secure practices among students and educators. In order to create awareness, Business Software Alliance (BSA) has started B4U Surf campaign where BSA and its partners aim to provide educators, parents and students, information and educational resources to help them understand the dangers that exist online for safe computer usage. BSA is a non-profit association dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. ‘B4U Surf’ campaign focuses at spreading awareness about cyber wellness including cyber-safety and cyber-ethics among the youth, aged 10- 12 year old, tion of security is not up to the mark. She further suggested that Intellectual Property should be included in course curriculum of computer science to make students learn new wave of cyber safety and ethics.
Along with awareness, best security practices and mechanism is mandatory. “It is important for institutions and universities to opt for an enterprise protection mechanism to shield the systems used by their students from any cyber threats. Our Enterprise Protection Strategy
combines multiple layers of products and services for intelligent, comprehensive protection against known and unknown threats,” added Nath  At the education level, security is equally crucial when we are relying on ICT at a great level .

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