Grand Strand cyber security experts raise concerns of new student scheduling app

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 11:12 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - If you see a new app on your student’s phone you may want to give it a second look.

It’s called Saturn and it can help your high school student with class scheduling.

However, experts who spoke with WMBF News said it’s important to be cautious when it comes to sharing any sort of personal information online.

The app said there are 539 users from Carolina Forest High School and 285 users from North Myrtle Beach High School.

A Cyber Security Professor at Horry Georgetown Technical College, Stanton Greenawalt said he’s not shocked to see those numbers for a new app.

“That doesn’t really surprise me,” said Greenawalt. “It’s the accuracy of the information that truly concerns me and the potential access of people hacking into that system to act like they’re a student also.”

Saturn Developers said the app is helpful for students as it’s a calendar where students can share things like their class schedule, and activities, and stay in the know.

“Sports activities any academic activities and their classroom activities, the names of the teachers, and that allow me to, if I was not a person who was using this honorably, allows me to start conversations with the student on that particular app.”

Now, app developers said they’re upping and strengthening the verification process to make sure only students are using it. Carolina Forest parent David Tuggle said he’s thankful to see more security measures added.

“As long as securities there and everything so that you know the hackers and bad actors can’t get to that kind of data, I wouldn’t see a problem with it all,” he said.

App developers also said their backend system blocks and flags phone numbers the app deems suspicious.

While Greenawalt said these are good steps, he advises both students and parents to be cautious when it comes to sharing too many details on any social media platform.

“I’m not saying don’t use it, I’m just saying, I would be very careful about adding that as a tool because it’s not sanctioned by the school district or your child going to that particular school.”

Greenawalt also encourages parents to have healthy conversations with their kids about the information they are currently sharing.

This week, app developers said they submitted an improvement request to Apple, aiming to add extra verification steps to ensure everyone on Saturn has their identity verified.