Distance learning and remote learning have become common terms in the past few years. Many schools were forced to shut down and switch to remote learning due to COVID. With the educational institution shifting to remote learning, it has become prone to cyber security to risk and it has become vital to address the issue critically to avoid a loss of any kind. The way teachers and students are using technology for pursuing learning can make them vulnerable to a wide variety of security risks.
Educational institutions consist of a lot of valuable information and it is basically a goldmine of personal information of the students and sometimes of the parents and therefore, the cyberattacks targeting both schools and universities have increased. There have been increased cases of cyber-attacks during remote learning. For instance, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have reported that there has been an increase in malicious activity with ransomware attacks. In February 2021, a breach in the server created havoc for Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. It, therefore, becomes important to practice measures to stay safe from such attacks.
Here are a few tips to prevent cyber attacks during remote learning.
When practicing remote learning, it is important to train the educators and other educational staff on the security risks that might occur and how to tackle them. Further, they should be trained with information regarding ransomware, phishing attacks. Whether you are running a school, college or a coaching institute to prepare the students for Sarkari Exam, having knowledge about common cyber threats and how to fight them is a must.
Students and educators, both are prone to phishing attacks especially email phishing. The hackers might try to customize the content of the phishing email to suit the requirements of the educational institution. For example, students might receive an email that clicking on a certain link will help them to view their Sarkari Result but that link can be malicious. Everyone, especially the students, should be taught how to identify a phishing email.
An updated software reduces the vulnerability of security threats to a large extent. The commonly used apps and software along with the operating system should stay updated to reduce the risk of security loopholes which are mostly fixed from time to time through updates.
Antivirus along with antimalware should be encouraged in all the systems to prevent malicious software from affecting the system. Also, the antivirus software and antimalware software should be updated to prevent attacks from new viruses.
Many educators are using platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom for remote learning. These platforms are then joined by the students for their classes. It is important for the teacher to check that only the members of the classes are present in the online lesson.
Having a strong password for securing vital data increases the problem for hackers. It is advised that the educational institutes use non-dictionary words with a mixed combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols to create a strong password to reduce hacking of their system.
For the sake of convenience, Wi-Fi guest networks are promoted in both homes and schools. Open Wi-Fi networks do not have great protection of security. Open networks are unencrypted which make such networks totally prone to any hacker. If an open network is required, it should be protected using a WPA2 password for supporting encryption.
Knowledge is power and therefore, even though cyber threats might not be a subject of any course, training for the same should be provided to the educators and the students to stay safe during remote learning. Further, the students should be able to communicate freely with their teachers if they have faced any problems during the remote learning. Also, having a backup of all the important documents can protect any institution from suffering any important data loss.