As most of the students in United States are preparing to attend physical classes from September first week for the academic year 2021-2022, Sophos has issued some Cybersecurity tips for school and college students and those are follows-
Website encryption is must- Whether the student is attending physical or online classes, sending data online with encryption makes complete sense as it protects the information from falling into the hands of hackers, third parties and state funded actors who are always found snooping through espionage tools.
Creating a strong password – School and college system admins should make sure that they are giving safe login credentials to kids, as hackers are always on a prowl of weak passwords and sensitive data.
Be careful with website links- As students spend time online, they come across certain links in emails or chats that need to be clicked when in a safe zone. And it is better if students are educated on not to click on suspicious links sent by strangers to their email accounts as they can be laced with malware or espionage tools.
Sharing needs to be done cautiously- When kids, specially those below 12, are online, they tend to share anything and everything online. For instance, their private pictures, driving license details, trip photos, credit card info and such. Remember that such information share could lead to identity theft, where hackers can use the sensitive details that are shared online.
Social Media Security- Nowadays, every student, whether he/she is a kid or a grown up… say 12 years are maintaining a social media account. Actually, it is helping them know all the happenings in the world around them and is good for them to a certain extent. However, parents and teachers need to educate them on what to do and what not to do on the social media and also help them keep a tab of their account privacy settings to ensure what data is shared and with whom. For instance, FB visible to friends option and Twitter’s ‘Protected’ feature.
Using a VPN- Using a virtual private network for student communication helps in keeping hackers at bay as they cannot sniff passwords or steal information in a VPN driven communication.
Phishing emails- Students are prone to email phishing scams and so they need to be educated on such incidents happening in the cyberspace. As it helps them learn how cyber crooks can exploit this attack vector to trap victims.
Shut down- Whenever students are not using a mobile, tablet or PC, it is always safe to shut it or lock it down. As it prevents others from using the device and impersonate or retrieve data from it.
Using open Wi-Fi networks- It is a common practice for students to use open networks for accessing online service and this can allow criminals to sniff the data flowing to & fro.
Never share credentials or passwords- School authorities should offer a strict guideline to students that they should never share their email or online credentials with others like friends, elders or relatives.
Cloud services and data recovery- In case a device gets lost, school or college management should be able to use software services to lock down the device from operations and recover data on a simple note. It can be done with the use of cloud services where assignments, data, files and work schedules can be shared easily with just a click of a button and the student doesn’t need to bother about the data storage hiccups on his/her devices.