School website soon to be safer

Anyone planning to hack into the school’s website may have missed their opportunity.

EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of information technology in education, has just announced the start of an internet-wide project to enhance the security of all .edu websites, including USC’s homepage.

The project hopes to increase the security of websites that end in .edu, by adding a digital signature, an extra security feature that will keep hackers from tapping into .edu websites. EDUCAUSE wants to make these websites safer for students who often input important personal information online, such as social security and bank account numbers.

Called DNSSEC, or Domain Name System Security Extensions, the system will use a digital signature to ensure websites are what they say they are.

“It strikes me as mostly preventative,” said the Director of Communication and Marketing for USC’s IT Department Kevin Durkin. “If it were not done, it would be easier for malicious people to do [malicious] things.”

USC is currently in the testing stages, and DNSSEC’s official launch is set for March 2010.

“It’s an extra security step that will occur automatically,” said Steve Worona, director of policy and networking programs for EDUCAUSE, so students won’t have to worry about lagging internet or technical issues.