Educators’ Guide to Keeping Your Students Safe Online
As K-12 schools and higher education increasingly implement virtual class policies, making sure that both students and teachers are practicing safe internet browsing behavior is now more important than ever. Classes on Zoom, homework on Canvas, and communicating via email are new to some college students—imagine the challenges that face our grade-school children. Online, there are many threats lurking just a click away. But fear not! Your team of Dynamix Cybersecurity experts are here to provide you with some tips and easy-to-implement strategies to keep faculty and students alike safe while they adjust to a new online environment.
It is the responsibility of parents, teachers, principals and service providers alike, to ensure children are using the internet safely. Addressing their risk, we must first consider the increased vulnerability of young people to common problems like viruses, malware, ransomware, and phishing. Children do not possess the same advanced decision-making and risk-aversion skills as adults, so adequate training must be provided, and the importance of safe-internet practices thoroughly stressed, to ensure children have the tools to safely browse the internet. As the internet becomes more complex, and the methods of hackers to gain access to your systems become more sophisticated, it has never been more important to warn against the potential dangers of cyberattacks.
So, while children navigate their new virtual classrooms and conduct their studies online via Microsoft Office 365, Zoom Video Calling, and Google Drive, remember that we have a responsibility to keep them safe and protect them from online threats.
Malware, Ransomware, and Phishing
But what threats exist for my children while online? And what are viruses, malware, ransomware, and phishing? The answer is quite simple—while each category poses a different risk, and is identified differently, these cyber security buzzwords are just different methods cyber criminals will use to extort or steal your information.
Once a virus or malware infects one computer, much like a real virus, it can then spread to other computers or devices on your school or personal network, the results of which can be severe. From spam emails and slow loading times on your apps/programs, to stolen passwords and financial information, these are some common consequences of a cyber-attack. The worst of these attacks comes in the form of ransomware, in which cyber criminals quite literally hold you ransom by blocking access to your own computer or threatening to publish sensitive financial data unless a steep ransom is paid. Since these ransoms are usually demanded in cryptocurrencies, the criminals remain untraceable, rendering any form of justice difficult and timely.
As methods of cyber criminality become more sophisticated and targeted, the real-world impact on real people continues to increase. To exacerbate the issue, online criminals will often target vulnerable people; the young, the elderly, and exploit their vulnerability.
The best defense against cyber criminality is education and vigilance – how to recognize a suspicious email or call, how to block websites/popups or how to use secure-sign-in methods. There are, however, extra measures schools and educational institutions can take in order to ensure the safety and privacy of sensitive information for our young people.
With Dynamix Secure DNS, IT managers can decide what students and faculty have access to while using devices connected to the school’s network. Administrators can easily restrict content such as websites containing viruses, scams and other potentially dangerous content. With access to a database of over 650 million users with over 100,000 new malware sites identified every single day, Dynamix Secure DNS adds an extra layer of protection for schools by blocking threats at the source.
For schools heavily reliant on email for student-faculty communications, we strongly recommend implementing Dynamix Mail Protection. This service can strengthen your Office 365 or other email service security with a 99.9% spam catch rate and data leak prevention. A recent report by our partner CampaignMonitor shows that, on average, ‘60 billion spam emails are sent per day,’ so making sure your organization is proactively taking steps to stay ahead of online thieves is essential to remote-learning or hybrid-learning environments. With smart pricing and easy management, the cost/benefit analysis is simple, and implementation is even simpler.
Contact your Dynamix cyber security specialist for a comprehensive plan for your school or business: Sales@dynamixcloud.com