12 Aug 2021 /

Back to School and Cyber Safe: 6 Tips for Parents and Educators

Edward Maurer,
Director of Security

It’s that time of year again, and whether your students are heading back to class in person or virtually, there’s no denying being connected will play a huge role in their education. From preschool to college, parents and educators play a vital role in teaching them to stay safe online. To help, we’ve compiled a list of 6 essential tips:

Make sure to keep operating systems, applications and home wifi router up-to-date

Tell students not to ignore those updates, even if they take a while to install. Many of them include critical security patches, so making sure to keep operating systems and applications (and for parents, your home wifi router) running on the latest version is one of the best ways to stay protected.

Educate your student about phishing attempts and what to look for

Phishing attacks don’t discriminate, and even our internet savvy students can become victims. Between class, extracurriculars and social activities, most students have a lot going on, and taking advantage of targets who are likely rushed and distracted is a common phishing tactic. Bad actors can also send emails that spoof a teacher, bank and other services students use such as Amazon, Spotify and Netflix. Check out this blog for more details on what to look out for.

Talk to them about social media and the dangers of oversharing

Everyone loves a fun social media quiz. But they aren’t always as harmless as they seem. Make sure your student understands it’s never a good idea to answer questions in which they provide personal information of any kind. Skilled hackers can leverage the smallest things, like the name of your student’s first pet, or their favorite color, combined with publicly available information to scam your student or others in their family via phishing or other forms of social engineering. Here’s a great article from Fast Company with more details.

Enable two-factor authentication

Keep hackers out of your student’s work and personal information by having them use two-factor, or multi-factor authentication whenever possible. This method provides an extra layer of protection and can be enabled in the security settings of most applications by connecting an authenticator app, using biometrics, or by entering a mobile number.

Use strong, unique passwords

The best way to keep hackers out of your student’s environment is to use strong passwords that are unique to every website or system. We recommend using long passphrases because they are easier to remember than random letters, characters or symbols. Passphrases can be unique to your student and include a random string of words or a phrase that only they will know. To make it even easier, we always recommend using a password manager to create, store and audit your passwords. Just remember, the longer the better, and never use the same one twice.

Protect your student’s computer with a good endpoint solution

No matter how much you educate your students, no one’s online behavior is perfect. That’s why it’s important to have a good endpoint solution installed to protect your student’s computer from viruses. As with all software, it’s important to keep it up-to -date to ensure its effectiveness.

Remember, it’s never too early to talk to your kids about staying safe online, and make sure to check in with them often so they don’t become complacent. While there is no way to keep your students 100% safe, following these 6 easy tips will help them have a happy, safe and successful school year.

Visit the AaDya Security Blog for more cybersecurity tips and information to help you stay safe.

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