Back to School Cybersecurity Risks
As schools begin to reopen, many are adopting a hybrid format that blends online with traditional, in-person learning (that’s a weird thing to have to say). For those students engaging in the former, cyber risks will be more of an issue than they’ve ever had to deal with before. To that end, the FBI’s Portland Field Office came out recently with a set of guidelines for digital defense regarding education technology. Clearly a serious issue, if we’re going to see federal intervention.
There are a few do’s and don’ts.
- Any online services that students, especially younger ones, use for class should be monitored for security risks.
- Knowing the ins and outs of any service’s data breach policies is also important. How much data on the student do they collect? How is it retained? Is it sold? How much control do the students have over their data while working online? These are valuable questions for anybody who uses the internet, and it’s no different for students.
- The Oregon branch also recommends taking the further step of determining the exposure of your children’s information through internet searches.
- Monitoring any credit or other financial accounts they might have is also more crucial than ever.
- Overall, parents keeping themselves informed about their children’s online school activities is the best protection for their cybersecurity. Information is key, which is a little ironic since it is information we’re also trying to safeguard.
And maybe it goes without saying, but the FBI sure didn’t think so, so be exceedingly frugal with your children’s information when creating online user profiles. No full names, birthdays, or pictures should be one’s default approach.
I have a number of teacher friends and relatives, many of whom are now facing the challenges of going back to school and trying to teach kids in person on certain days of the week, and over the internet on others. Complicated as matters already are, they have this to worry about as well. Although it’s primarily the parent or guardian’s responsibility to ensure proper cybersecurity hygiene for their kids, teachers don’t want their students to be compromised either. COVID-related cyber schemes have been ongoing since the pandemic began, and it is incredibly vital to prevent students from falling victim to these as they attempt to start the new school year.