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Re: Security for grades stored online
From: Adam Mooz <adam.mooz () gmail com>
Date: Fri, 11 Dec 2009 11:59:09 -0500

On 2009-12-11, at 3:03 AM, Eitan Adler wrote:

From most of the responses I've seen the best idea for me would be to
use some form of PKI.
The reason I didn't jump immediately into PKI instead of my idea was:
1) Most of the teachers are probably not technologically
sophisticated. I'm unaware of any easy-to-use PKI system
2) I'm assuming one of two cases here (a) the teacher left the
computer alone or (b) the teacher chose an easy to guess password.
3) The teacher would probably choose the same password for the key as
for the moodle account (which I'm modifying to fit my needs)

Does anyone know of an easy-to-use system that would not be
compromised by the above assumptions. I'm also working within a
limited budget so (as far as I'm aware atm) no new hardware could be
bought.

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Honestly, if you have tight access control and audit logs of who did what to the database, and of course all the 
standard locks on the database, the school should be worried about students manipulating grades via the TA's.  If the 
teacher has walked away and left their computer unlocked (as highlighted in a scenario above) then the student could 
modify the teachers local spreadsheet of assignment/test marks and then get the teacher to upload the falsified marks 
that way.  The point I'm trying to make is that students are smart, if they wanted to subvert their marks they're not 
going to do so by attacking a database.  They will social engineering to have the prof modify their marks for them.  

The two scenario's you've outlined are also...problematic.  If the students have access to the prof's (or another 
trusted) computer with an active session there isn't much you can do without timeouts.  As for weak passwords, again 
there is not much you can do about those.  Implementing RSA tokens would defeat this but also requires a huge amount of 
resources.  

In short, obviously defend the database as much as you can with good programming, ACL's, etc...but IMHO if you have an 
excellent auditing of changes made(date/time, old value, new value, user making the changes) and who(ip) accessed the 
machine at what time and a good alerting system you should be able to not only prevent someone from changing marks on 
the database directly or if they do then you'll be able to track (and possibly prove) what student attempted what.

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Adam Mooz
Adam.Mooz () gmail com
AdamMooz () me com
http://www.AdamMooz.com


------------------------------------------------------------------------
Securing Apache Web Server with thawte Digital Certificate
In this guide we examine the importance of Apache-SSL and who needs an SSL certificate.  We look at how SSL works, how 
it benefits your company and how your customers can tell if a site is secure. You will find out how to test, purchase, 
install and use a thawte Digital Certificate on your Apache web server. Throughout, best practices for set-up are 
highlighted to help you ensure efficient ongoing management of your encryption keys and digital certificates.

http://www.dinclinx.com/Redirect.aspx?36;4175;25;1371;0;5;946;e13b6be442f727d1
------------------------------------------------------------------------


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