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If you can’t trust your bank, government or your medical provider to protect your data, what makes you think students are any safer?

Turns out, according to one student security researcher, they’re not.

Eighteen-year-old Bill Demirkapi, a recent high school graduate in Boston, Massachusetts, spent much of his latter school years with an eye on his own student data. Through self-taught pen testing and bug hunting, Demirkapi found several vulnerabilities in his school’s learning management system, Blackboard, and his school district’s student information system, known as Aspen and built by Follett, which centralizes student data, including performance, grades, and health records.

“School data or student data should be taken as seriously as health data. The next generation should be one of our number one priorities, who looks out for those who can’t defend themselves.”
Bill Demirkapi, security researcher.

The former student reported the flaws and revealed his findings at the Def Con security conference on Friday.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of hacking,” Demirkapi told TechCrunch prior to his talk. “I started researching but I learned by doing,” he said.

Among one of the more damaging issues, Demirkapi found in Follett’s student information system was an improper access control vulnerability, which if exploited could have allowed an attacker to read and write to the central Aspen database and obtain any student’s data.

Blackboard’s Community Engagement platform had several vulnerabilities, including an information disclosure bug. A debugging misconfiguration allowed him to discover two subdomains, which spat back the credentials for Apple app provisioning accounts for dozens of school districts, as well as the database credentials for most if not every Blackboard’s Community Engagement platform, said Demirkapi.

First published in TechCrunch by: Zack Whittaker: https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/09/school-data-student-security-def-con/