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September 21, 2020

Simple Ways to Keep Your Student Cyber Safe

Simple ways to keep your student cyber safe

Back to school means different things for everyone this year, and returning safely has taken on a whole new meaning. While some students are returning to school in person, many students and their families are learning 100% virtually, or through a hybrid program that combines both virtual and in-person learning. Regardless of the method, all students will be using devices to access their work more than ever before, and it’s essential that families prioritize keeping them cyber safe.

Create an age-appropriate account

A standard security practice for using any computer is to create an ‘Admin Account’ as well as a ‘Standard User’ account. When you are browsing sites day-to-day or working you should utilize the standard user, only using the admin account only to make administrative changes. So creating an age restricted account for your student will help prevent them from downloading or accessing content that is not considered to be age appropriate.

Install anti-virus protection

This will help prevent the accidental download of any known malicious software. Make sure your student’s computer has antivirus software installed and up-to-date at all times.

Use strong passwords

The best way to keep hackers out of your student’s environment is to make sure they create strong passwords. The strongest passwords should be more than 12 characters long, contain a combination of letters, numbers and symbols and should not be reused. It’s also a good practice to rotate them often. The easiest way to manage this process (and make sure passwords are stored safely) is to utilize a password manager.

Enable two-factor authentication

Two factor (or multi-factor) authentication provides an extra layer of protection to keep hackers out of the applications your student uses to access work, meet with teachers and classmates, or watch pre-recorded lessons. Most applications allow this to be enabled in the security settings by entering a second form of authentication beyond a password (mobile number, a biometric or an authenticator app).

Educate, educate, educate!

Educating your student on internet safety has never been more important. Make sure to establish a list of appropriate websites that are okay for them to visit, and to ask first if they aren’t sure it’s safe. Your student should also understand that under no circumstances should they enter any personal information on a webpage. It’s also a good idea to help them understand how to identify a phishing email and that a best practice is to never click on links sent in an email, or reply to an email with any personal information. You can view more information on this important topic here.

Establish a daily review

We strongly encourage a daily review. This will verify the search history on the computer as well as any downloads that may have taken place. It also helps to reinforce they are following the safety guidelines your family has established and to ensure nothing was downloaded that could potentially be dangerous.

This school year has the potential to begin a new trend of remote learning opportunities for students of all ages. While we adjust to this over the next few months, it is crucial that we ensure they stay cyber safe while on the internet. Settings guidelines, monitoring activity and teaching students basic security practices is a great place to start.

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