Staff maintains tech security for students

Landeros notes school provide layers of security


Will Browning

Students work on their iPads at the booths outside the library.

The following is a slightly edited transcript of a Q and A with Chief Information Officer Mr. Rolly Landeros conducted by Anna Pohl and Madi Tran regarding the recent New York Times article covering internet restrictions at school.  

How does the school protect students on the internet?

We have three different layers of protection for our students We have a advanced firewall that provides protection from viruses and spam and phishing emails. It’s called an application firewall, basically the highest industry standard filtering that can be done but also to protect internet ignorance. There are so many new things that are happening that people aren’t aware of that are happening. This firewall communicates with the manufacturer’s headquarters. 

The other one is we use the Gmail education sweeps. Gmail does a pretty good job of aggressively protecting your account. (Users get) notifications when your account is used on a device it is not usually used. Google also tracks activity. 

The third layer (of protection) is really internal policies we try to do to educate students on what is proper internet procedure. The layers are a combination of hardware, software, and behavior education. Those three things are what we use to protect our students. Knowing there will always be new challenges and new apps, sometimes it’s the simplest thing that trips people up.

 We don’t use Mobile Iron anymore, we use FileWave. That one is designed to help us push apps and help us manage as to who’s updated and who’s not updated. If there is a bug, we have the ability to inventory. It can help with effective solution and it used as a communication tool, not as a restriction. It is used more as a management tool, not so much a protection tool. I don’t consider it a safety issue as opposed to a management application 

We do have another feature. We have another layer of security, our wireless infrastructure. We can locate iPads on campus and can tell (students) the last room that iPad was checked in on WiFi. 

Every classroom has its own connection point, whether it’s in the gym, theater or a classroom, we can tell them where it was last left.

How does the school protect students’ privacy while still offering protection? 

The firewall is not intrusive. It is monitoring activity going out to the internet and protecting things coming in If that iPad is going out and playing video games, it does record the activity that is going through it. It does log that information. The firewall does record pretty much everything you’re doing. 

While it does not record what you are typing, it knows what you are doing. I have the ability to pull internet activity logs of anyone who is using our internet. We have to be able to have that control. For disciplinary reasons, we need to know what has been the students’ internet activity during this time. I am a huge proponent of making sure that stays (recording only on campus). I would never want the school to overstep its boundaries. 

If they’re going to make a mistake, it’s best they make that mistake at Cathedral so we can help them and correct them before college. 

There is only one exception: their Google account is a Google account. We don’t go in any student’s account and look at their activity, unless an incident has happened. We do not proactively go out of our way to spy on students. The nice thing about Google is it gives the students the ability to manage what is being recorded and logged. Google is keeping track of your history. 

As an individual person, you get to chose how much that history is kept in the log, and a student has the right to clear that whenever they want. Because these apps are free, they are constantly recording all of your activity even when you’re not using the app. You gave them permission.

 They use that information for marketing. I do not like that form of internet app sharing. The most important thing is always check what the app is requesting as far as sharing ability. The app will tell you what it’s going to be sharing. 

You have the ability to control date only while you’re using the app. You have the ability and choice to not use the app. Some people just chose because it’s free they’re willing to give up a lot of personal freedom to allow companies to track them, and quite honestly one of the worst companies to do that is Google. 

Google is keeping track of all the websites you are using. You will see targeted advertising, they’re always giving you that information. 

Our personal freedoms of anonymity are eroding every day. 

Our applications are being more closely integrated to share that data and wealth. 

The values of freedom are being expensed for discount shopping. Not sharing data costs more money (because targeted marketing will allow users to access special discounts).In regards to (the firewall) tracking, yes it’s keeping track on what the activity is on everyone here, including faculty and staff. I am notified if a serious violation occurs off of internet activity. 

Technology is never going to be able to block everything. Our goal is not to block everything as much as keeping everyone safe. We’re always going to be challenged with new applications that create threats. 

I don’t want to create a sense of authoritative internet activity that we’re blocking, that we don’t want to have individual freedom. Adolescence is a critical time. They’re going to make curious decisions, but it’s a learning moment. It’s the behavior you should be doing at your age. Sometimes students don’t know that it’s wrong. 

We try to create an individual environment, but we need some form of protection not just for students but for new threats that affect technology.

 One of the reasons we’re using this new firewall is specifically to block March Madness. Everybody wants to watch that game. If Purdue or Butler or IU is in that tournament, our internet completely spikes. It affects teachers who have scheduled Schoology tests. (The new firewall is) going to drastically minimize internet activity during school. (The school’s) internet is taken over. (The firewall will) prioritize internet traffic based on content. Teachers have complained in the past- they’re trying to give a tests and they can’t get to Schoology or it’s crashed. We’ll have other options, like have game available on TVs for people to watch. 

How can students stay safe on social media?

The best way for students to keep themselves safe is to be careful of the information they’re sharing and who they’re sharing it with. Friends change. As fun as it is, sometimes your friends can use that information against you, like taking a screenshot. 

I personally think people share too much information when they don’t take into consideration, could this information hurt me later on?

It’s different when you take a picture and when you share that picture. Don’t share anything that could jeopardize you being a student here at Cathedral. 

Even though people make mistakes, if you feel like you could get in trouble for something you did, don’t record it and don’t share it. 

Try to make smart choices and just realize the consequences of the choices you’re going to do. However, you behave outside the internet should be the way you behave on the internet. Your behaviors will support you and your actions. 

Be skeptical of information you receive. If you receive something you don’t know who it’s from, don’t respond if you don’t know who they are. Its OK to ignore them. Let them be the first to explain what’s happening. Otherwise now you’ve opened the door for them to come in. Always be on the defensive when it comes to internet activity. You have to find a moral standard. All students are going to develop over time and they’re going to learn what’s right or wrong. There’s a natural.

Ask, “Is this going to get me in trouble?” There’s a baseline where every student knows they’re going to get in trouble and sometimes people make mistakes. Students make mistakes, adults make mistakes. Ask for help if you think you’re involved in something that you think you could get in trouble for. That first step is the step necessary for forgiveness and redemption. If you don’t ever ask that question, you’re making a choice to hide that. You’re going to go down that path where you’re going to make that choice. Ask, “If this happened to a family member, what advice would you give them?” That goes down to a moral center.