The utilization of the online medium for academics is now the norm. With the presence of global outbreaks, schools operate with limited capacities or strict health guidelines. This encouraged the use of online platforms for students. The internet presents many opportunities, benefits, and ways of aiding one’s studies and research. However, threats and potential dangers to teachers and learners come with accessing and utilizing cyberspace. Whether you are a student, parent, or teacher, being aware of potential cyber threats and taking steps to prevent them is essential. This article discusses examples of common cyber threats, like malware, and basic security practices, such as backup strategies and encryption.
This cyber threat is common amongst students and teachers who manage and use emails. Phishing comes in the form of emails, attachments, and messages. Once you interact or reply to these suspicious emails, cybercriminals can have access to sensitive data on your device. They can leak these newly-obtained data or use it against you to get what they want. This threat is common in dubious emails disguising themselves from legitimate academic-related websites for students and teachers.
Data Breach & Theft
A data breach is usually the typical result of malware effectively infecting a device. Malware has a ton of variants; this includes viruses, adware, and trojan. These malware access private data, in this case, students’ and teachers’ data, and allow cyber criminals to acquire it. This threatens the privacy and security of both students and teachers. Furthermore, cybercriminals can utilize these data for identity theft and fraud.
This threat is a type of malware wherein it can flood your device with annoying pop-up advertisements. Adware hides under legitimate-looking computer programs and activates when you use said application. The primary purpose of this threat is to obtain your data regarding ad preferences, which are sold to companies that can target you to become their consumers. Moreover, if you interact with these ads, you can get redirected to illegitimate and suspicious websites, which could give you viruses and other malware.
Data Protection & Prevention
- Backup – Ensure that you have several backup copies of essential academic-related data on your device and in the cloud. This avoids loss and corruption of data. Furthermore, you can easily access and find particular files if you store them properly and safely. There are two ways you can create a backup of your data: the cloud and the use of hard drives. Data in the cloud is in a separately secured server that only you can access, while hard drives are utilizing the storage of your devices.
- Keep Private Information Private – Avoid sharing sensitive information on the internet, especially on suspicious websites or personnel. Do not publicize essential information, especially your school email, name, address, and telephone or cellphone numbers. Be aware of the common cyber threats to avoid falling victim to data breaches and theft.
- Encrypt Data – Aside from creating copies of private data, encrypting them builds sufficient security that avoids unauthorized access. This is necessary for managing and storing school data, such as academic records and student information. In addition, generating a strong and reliable password lessens the chance of cyber criminals acquiring said sensitive data.
- Update Software – Having up-to-date programs ensures you have the most recent and top-of-the-line security. This avoids potential risks and vulnerabilities in your system.
Other Internet Safety Practices
- Avoid accessing suspicious and unknown websites and programs to avoid being infected by malware and phishing.
- Be mindful of your posts and others. This avoids cyberbullying and other potential cyber crimes.
- Do not forget to log out of devices when you are not using them. This protects your accounts and devices from unauthorized access.
Cybersecurity in schools is just as critical as physical security. Due to the current pandemic, many schools and universities took advantage of the online medium entirely. There are quite a handful of cyber threats that can potentially harm and endanger the privacy and security of both students and teachers. These threats primarily target the private information of these learners and teachers. You could use standard internet safety practices and protection methods to secure your data online from these threats. This can either be by backing up your data, encrypting your files, or keeping software and programs up-to-date.