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October 11, 2005 > District to safeguard computer system

District to safeguard computer system

by Rick La Plante

In an effort to minimize the possibility that students and others could gain inappropriate access to its computer system, the New Haven Unified School District is calling in a team of experts to analyze the system and make recommendations.

``We don't believe our security has been compromised,'' Superintendent Dr. Pat Jaurequi emphasized, `` but we are about to make a substantial investment in technology, using money entrusted to us by the community. Given the problems that some other districts have experienced -- particularly with grade tampering -- we decided to be proactive and take a preventative step.''

The District is planning to spend about $17 million to upgrade technology over the next four to six years, using funds from a $120 million bond passed by District voters in 2003.

At the close of the 2004-05 school year, ``we were alerted to what was thought to be a compromise of the security of the student information system, particularly unauthorized changes to grades and transcripts,'' Deputy Superintendent David Pava said.

``The matter was thoroughly investigated, and we found no breach of information security or unauthorized access or changes to student transcripts. However, through the course of the investigation, it did become clear to us that our system security, procedures and practices need to be analyzed by experts in the field, to help us improve and update our technology information systems.''

The District has contracted with Andrew Prestage, a management analyst from the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) to conduct the study at a cost of approximately $7,500.

A six-person FCMAT team will conduct vulnerability and penetration testing from a remote site, assess student information system security, conduct on-site review of server security and assess District technology and security policy.

 
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