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Security tightened in light of 'hack attack' at RCS

Numerous actions are being undertaken in light of the recent uncovering of an attempt by a student to infiltrate RCS School District servers and computer programs.

The actions, said Superintendent Vicki Wright, are designed \to ensure that the district's sensitive personnel, student and financial information are secured to the highest possible degree.

The changes were implemented upon the return of faculty, staff and students on Monday and include new, as well as routine steps, such as requiring immediate password changes, as well as frequent and routine changes in the future, improved filtering of Web sites and the securing at all times of district computers, thereby denying access to anyone not permitted to use the computer station.

Technology Director Jeff Clemens said RCS' technology protection programs are extensive and - as the attack proved - successful in repelling extensive and intensive "attacks."

However, as technology evolves and attackers become better equipped, it's important to stay up-to-date. As a result, Clemens said, he has installed new security programs and increased the frequency of the audits of the district server's activities.

It was during an audit of server activity on Feb. 16 that the "attack" by the student was uncovered. That student is now facing criminal charges in the town of Coeymans.

Had the student been successful in his quest, he/she could have gained access to grades, personal information on employees, district financial information and other important data.

"What's important for everyone - parents, students, faculty, staff, retirees and taxpayers - to know is that this episode has allowed us to focus on, and improve, our technological protocols and programs to further ensure the security of vital and important records," Wright said.

"What occurred should never happen again, and we, all of us who use a district computer, are committed to making sure that it does not occur," she added.

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