Tech department works to ensure cybersecurity

Students learning from home add another area of concern

Senior+Nick+Bozzelli-Levine+works+on+an+assignment+on+his+iPad.+

Maddie Taylor

Senior Nick Bozzelli-Levine works on an assignment on his iPad.

Maddie Taylor , Reporter

As the school year kicks off and students once again breathe in the distinct smell of school hallways, there is lots of buzz in the air, with plenty of things to discuss and activities to attend to. Throughout all of the hustle and bustle, the behind-the-scenes effort put into making a successful day-to-day school year can often be forgotten.

One such effort is the cybersecurity involved with going to school. After a year in which some students never stepped foot on the Hill due to virtual learning, the cyber layout of the school has had to adapt to ensure safety and efficiency for both the students and staff.

The technology department is in charge of making sure all of the iPads, mechanics, machinery and computers in the school are running smoothly and effectively. 

One of the department’s main jobs is to keep the school safe from cybersecurity threats. Director of technology Mr. Brian Haselby said, “We have a firewall that protects the school’s network. We also have a dark web scanner that is turned on, and we also implement anti-virus software on all of our staff computers.” 

However, having the technology department available for aid isn’t the only safety net students can have in place. Another way for students to protect themselves from cybersecurity risks is by updating and changing their passwords to their accounts and websites they frequently use. A great way to do so is by changing passwords annually. Physics teacher Mr. Jimmy Miller said, “Everyone update your passwords” Having refreshed passwords is an important method to keeping accounts safe and difficult to hack. 

If an account is ever hacked, Chief Operating Officer Mr. Rolly Landeros said, “Reach out if (you) ever feel (your) passwords have been compromised or that there has been a breach.”

With the Covid-19 pandemic complicating numerous aspects of life, it has also brought changes to cybersecurity. The technology department’s resources were stretched thin during virtual learning due to an increased difficulty in assisting remote students. However, Landeros said, “The technology team was able to address students’ issues as long as students reached out.” 

The cyber responsibilities of students became even more important at home. Students had to monitor their emails and maintain security on school accounts because these online forums were their access to education. Landeros said he is proud of the ways in which the technology team adapted to the unpredictable changes of the pandemic. 

Recent cyber attacks have inflicted chaos across the world. The attacks have also impacted the construction of the new Innovation Center. They have made it more of a challenge on the contractors to complete the project on time. The building was originally supposed to be done for the beginning of this school year, but the grand opening has been postponed to Sept. 13. Landeros said, “Envoy (Construction) has done an exceptional job of navigating those challenges and reaching out to other suppliers when needed.” 

As cyberattacks have impacted the school, students and staff should remain vigilant of their cybersecurity. Everyone should maintain complex passwords to have secure accounts, and they should look out for any spam fishing or intrusions. Haselby said, “I’m always nervous that there could be a risk. We talk about it all the time. I think that what we have in place is a good guard and we are always looking to see if we could do it better.”

Editor’s note: Reporter Daniel Kent contributed to this story.