Cybersecurity in Education: What Teachers and Students Should Know

Are you a computer geek? Do you love experimenting with sitting hours in front of your school’s desktop? Or the world of the internet and the web fascinates you?

If your reply is Yes, perhaps knowledge of cybersecurity is something you should be aware of too. With the increasing advancement in technology, more and more vulnerabilities in the web world are rising. 

Implementing and educating children from a young age is becoming more fundamental. With the pandemic abrupting the physical mode of education, more e-learning practices are taking shape. 

According to Microsoft Global Threat Activity Tracker, the education sector is the worst affected. With more than 60% of malware activities detected, the need for awareness among teachers and students is more needed than ever. 

Before knowing how to safeguard from cyberattacks, let us know why it is vulnerable. 

Why is the Education Sector Vulnerable to Cyber Crimes? 

As the pandemic hovered on us, education became more concentrated in online mode. With students using more laptops and desktops, cyberattack vulnerabilities are high.

With increased vulnerability, it is more important to understand the reasons for this too. There are majorly four reasons for this vulnerability. 

DDoS Attacks: 

In simple terms, the denial of service (DoS) attack is a common type of cyber attack. This type of attack is more common for weak network security. Amateur hackers are keener towards these types of attacks. DDoS attacks normally hamper the productivity of the Education Institution.

To safeguard themselves, educational institutions can use residential proxies in their network server. Using a residential proxy can benefit them in various ways like giving them anonymity and identity protection while using the Internet. 

Data Theft 

The theft of data is the most common mode of cyberattack. Schools and colleges hold personal data of students and teachers. Theft of these data and selling those to the third party as a bargaining tool is very common.

Normally, these types of cyberattacks are common for getting large amounts of money. The catch with this type of attack is it can go unnoticed for a long time. 

One good example of this is the data theft of 160,000 medical data from Berkeley University

Financial Gain 

With the increase in online activity, every physical work is transforming to web mode. Like attending classes via Zoom, paying the fees is also majorly done online.

The public school’s fees may not be a great advantage for cybercriminals, but private schools and college fees are. With a large amount of money getting transferred via the Internet, the chances of money siphoning are high. If you do not use a secure mode of payment transfer, hackers can siphon the whole amount. This will result in huge financial losses to people. 

Espionage 

Educational institutions are a place of sensitive data storage. Research institutions and defense institutions hold sensitive data which are important for our society.

Hackers can spy on these data and sell them to the wrong group in return for large sums of money. These institutions need to have strong internet security to protect the data from spying. 

The above four types of attacks are mainly done by: 

  1. Phishing- This is one of the most used methods of cyber attack in educational institutions. This technique takes the form of a fraudulent message as an email or instant message. 

The message looks to come from a trustworthy site insisting a person click on the link. If the link or the message gets clicked, the attacker will gain access to your system. Phishing attacks can take place in different forms like a spear, whaling, email, and “vishing”.

  1. Malware- The malware attack is the next common form of cyber attack. A malware attack is mainly accomplished by a trojan. The file looks legitimate to make people open it. Once they open the file, the trojan gets introduced to your personal computer disrupting your activities.

The increase of cybercriminals is evident in recent years. But today, most schools and colleges are adopting measures against cyber activities. 

The cyber security tips schools should be aware of and take the following steps to protect their system:

Software Updates

We have a lot of software installed on our computers and laptops. Keeping your software updated is a key step in preventing cyber attacks on your system. Software updates come with advanced features like different patches to safeguard your system.

It is advisable to update the software for both mobiles and desktops whenever updates come. 

Installing Anti-virus Software 

Another important step for your system’s protection is to install anti-virus software. The main work of anti-virus software is to scan every file or code coming into the network of your system.

Normally antivirus is built with an extensive database of ransomware and malware. This helps the software to detect any incoming malware and restrict its entry. 

Strong and Unique Passwords 

It is always suggested to create a combination of strong passwords for all your accounts. Passwords are the first line of defense in any cyber-attacks. Thus, keeping a strong password will safeguard your system on a front hand basis. 

Strong password characteristics are mainly:

  • A combination of 8 characters 
  • A combination of letters, numbers, and special characters 
  • The presence of both uppercase and lowercase letters 

Undergo Security Training 

Today the majority of people are on the web, but only a few are aware of the cyber security risk. To be better aware of cybercriminal activities, it is advisable to undergo security training.

In schools and colleges, the authority can arrange for this training for teachers to raise awareness among them. This knowledge can later be transferred to students. 

There are many online courses offered by Udemy, Coursera, Simplilearn, etc., that are very effective. 

Avoid Clicking Unauthorized Links 

We often do not look for authorization before clicking any link. But it is very important to check for the links in the emails before clicking. With proper awareness and training, we can detect if links have come from fishy origins. 

Taking Away 

With increased awareness and knowledge, we can decrease the rate of cybercrime. Schools and colleges should start basic training for teachers and students to stay protected. With more advancement in cyber security, the Internet would become a safer place again. 

Safe internet surfing! 

By Hemant Kumar

I am a zealous writer who loves learning, redesigning the information, and sharing the original content in an innovative and embellish manner. I hope you will find my work beneficial and entertaining. Happy Reading!

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