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Illinois District Keeps an Eye on 'Net Abuse

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Illinois' Plainfield School District will use Spector 360 from SpectorSoft to prevent student Internet abuse and inappropriate usage of its computing infrastructure, which serves more than 28,000 students via 5,500 computers.

The district, comprising of 28 schools providing preK-12 education, had originally installed a firewall Web filter to block inappropriate usage, but that wasn't enough, according to district Network Administrator Russell Moore.

"Trying to use a firewall as a complete solution was awful, almost impossible," he explained in a prepared statement. "We absolutely needed a better way."

So, the district installed Spector 360 to find violations of its acceptable use policies. It soon identified students trying to download keyloggers in order to swipe passwords, and another student in appropriately using USB drives and then provided district personnel with the passwords needed to open up those devices.

A search utility and keyword alerts from the system let the district further identify misuse--particularly searches for remote proxies, Moore noted. "Using the Search feature and entering that term, we've found some kids searching for remote proxies all day long," he said. "The first thing they do when they find one is go to MySpace."

Additionally, the system provides a dashboard that also let Moore identify paltry underuse of a software application initially considered an important curriculum element. Moore said that compared to 32,000 hours of activity logged by some other applications, the neglected app only saw approximately 16 hours of use. Naturally, the school cut back on the license to save roughly $175,000 every four years: "The timeframe of our PC upgrade cycle," he added.

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About the author: David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant. He can be reached at david@dkcopy.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at david@dkcopy.com.

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