Boonville is one of five Missouri school districts being audited to learn how they defend students’ personal information. Superintendent Mark Ficken said he doesn’t have any reason to believe the district’s data is at risk.
“We have a full-time IT person and we pay obviously money for our anti-virus software and software to protect our servers,” said Ficken. “Cyber security was not anything I really felt like was a deficiency in our district.”
Ficken thinks State Auditor Nicole Galloway chose his district for the audit because it is near the middle of the state in both enrollment and location.
‘There are no cases of improprieties or fraud. They didn’t come here because of concern. It’s more of an initiative,” said Ficken.
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and Auditor Galloway announced last week the cyber security audit initiative of schools. The other schools being audited include the Cape Girardeau, Orchard Farm, Park Hill and Waynesville school districts.
According to the nonprofit Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, in the past 10 years, more than 250 K through 12 schools nationwide experienced a data breach. Three of those were in Missouri within the past year or so. A network was compromised at a Fulton school. Belton Middle School had unauthorized access to an iPad that led to cyber bullying. More than 10,000 students and employees had their personal information compromised at Park Hill school district.
Galloway’s office will conduct the audits and hopes to wrap up its work next year. She’ll announce in 2016 additional Missouri schools that will also be audited.
J.B. Connoley, KWIX, contributed to this story