Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a perfect time for educators to clean up their cyber hygiene—especially those teaching remotely. A recent study by Microsoft found teachers and schools encountered online malware nearly 5 million times in September alone—making education the most targeted industry nationwide. To protect yourself, your school, and your students from online threats, it’s important to stay vigilant!
Secure your virtual classroom.
The last thing you want is for an unwelcome stranger to make a guest appearance in your virtual classroom. Implement the following security measures to ensure your room can only be accessed by staff and students:
- Add a waiting lobby to your virtual room. Only admit recognized student names.
- Don’t post the link to your virtual room anywhere that can be accessed publicly. Make sure your students agree not to share the virtual room link as well.
- Only access your virtual classroom on trusted networks, and advise your students to the same.
Avoid suspicious communication.
Phishing emails target victims with free offers or mimic trusted organizations—like utility companies or banks—to trick you out of sensitive information. Cyber criminals tempt you to click a suspicious link and enter your account details—unwittingly handing over important, private info. This is especially dangerous if you’re using the same login credentials for multiple accounts. Be sure to check the domain of the sender, research common scams, and—when in doubt—report emails to your EdTech Team.
Use trusted resources.
Unfortunately, cyber criminals know how to manipulate a crisis to their benefit. When you’re scouting for software or tech for your virtual classroom, make sure that it comes from credible creators and not someone who is trying to infect you with malware or a platform that will sell your data to third parties.
Stick to your provided tech.
Even though you can access your Zoom class from a personal computer or mobile device, you should really use the tech provided by your school or district. Your personal devices might not have the same level of encryption that your work laptop does, and this could leave you vulnerable to a cyber attack.
Listen to your EdTech team.
Your EdTech team is a great line of defense against cyber criminals. If you find yourself in need of advice—like verifying a resource or identifying a phishing scam—check in with your EdTech experts. Keep up to date with tech protocols and privacy compliance standards set by your school and district.