Back to school season is over. Many school officials, teachers, students and families do not know what this school year will look like, as the COVID-19 pandemic affects when and how students return to school. One thing that everyone can agree on is that we want to keep our children as safe and healthy as possible. Precautions are taken to protect against the virus, but the pandemic also affects children's cyber security. What precautions can be taken against cyber threats?
Cyber threats do not only focus on companies or corporations; they also attack at home. We have shared how hackers and fraudsters use every opportunity to deceive people for personal information and money. When lots of people started working from home, we covered many topics and tips on the transition to working from home. Most corporate computers are now connected to a network protected by firewalls and antivirus software. Employees are trained to recognize fraud. But many home computers and the children who use them in school are exposed to new risks.
There are many forms that cyber attacks can take. The most common method is phishing. A phishing attack usually occurs when you receive an email from an account that in many cases looks legitimate but does not (email fake). The email asks you to click on a link or open a file. By clicking on this link, you have granted access to a cyber attacker who may load malware on your system or trick you into providing personal information.
Since many schools now offer virtual learning, students have communicated with their teachers and friends. via e-mail. The best way to protect yourself and your children from falling victim to a cyberattack is to prepare, share and pay attention.
Prepare your systems. Home computers should be equipped with good antivirus software that will scan your computer and catch unwanted files that may have been caused by a cyber attack attempt. It is important that this software is not only in place but also kept up to date. It's a good idea to schedule a night check for updates so you always know you have the most up-to-date protection available. Change your privacy settings and turn off location features. You can also choose to set passwords when organizing sessions in Zoom or other virtual communications and ensure that meeting room invitations you receive are legitimate and private.
Share and be aware. Talk to your family members, including children, about cyber threats and what to look for. Prevention is the best weapon against cyberattacks, and it can be as simple as paying close attention to emails, pop-ups, or changes to an odd program or computer system. If your child uses e-mail, make sure they know their teachers '/ friends' e-mail addresses, so if something funny is received (e-mail parody) they can catch it and warn you immediately. Make sure they know to never provide personal information to anyone via the internet, and to NEVER CLICK ON THE LINK unless they are completely sure that it is something intended for them. Schedule a "How's your computer" and "Did you get any emails from your teacher today?" routine control.
For more information on Internet safety for children, here is a resourceful website from the Federal Trade Commission that is full of information on protecting children online.
We want the rest of 2020 to be as safe and event-free as possible. We already have enough to worry about without risking cyberattacks.
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