According to a recent analysis, cyber attacks on distance learning increased by 60% in January compared to the first half of 2020. Over 270,000 users of learning platforms were affected from July to December 2020.
It is in the memory of many that day in November 2020 when, for about 10 hours, all Google services including Meet and Scholar, crashed. Probably the memory is more vivid in the teachers than in the students, but the damage, after all, is the same for both, and not only.
All the major security vendors have been raising their guard for some time. With over a billion kids around the world forced to follow lectures at a distance of all levels, e-learning and communication platforms are inevitably too much of chocolate for hackers.
Cyber Attacks: The Classic Ransomware
Thus, the various Zoom, Google Meet, and Moodle become the preferred target for a nice Ransomware attack, which spreads easily in the school and home network. The first access is often too easy if a poor boy is used as a bridgehead. Even if they are digital natives, the young person often has no idea what they may encounter after clicking on a link in a message.
And the consequences of that harmless click are tragic. Once inside, the malware makes a nice spin on the network used in search of monetizable data and information. It follows the theft of login credentials, credit card numbers, identity theft, and confidential data. And to get them back, you have to pay out, possibly in untraceable bitcoins.
How To Protect Yourself From Cyber Attacks In Distance Learning
Is there another way? If we mean an alternative to dad, no. At least not for the next few months. While there is certainly another way of dealing with the danger. Let’s see with a nice list to check, the actions to be taken to try to protect against cyber attacks in distance learning.
1. Secure The School Network
Ok, we have the excuse of the emergency and the rush for cover. Now, however, it is time to take the school head of IT aside and make him trot. Maybe together with the IT partner who provided the infrastructure. A nice assessment is what you need: check the level of network protection, the authentication process, and access privileges, check any devices left on loan for use by the students, and focus on teacher training. To follow, massive and repairing interventions.
2. Provide The Children With a Decalogue To Follow
Few chat, it takes a decalogue to be followed obligatorily. It should read, for example: do not click on links contained in emails and chat messages from any sender (known and unknown). Pretend the use of a computer (protected by the right software) and advise against the use of unprotected tablets and smartphones. Avoid using chat programs and social networks in the PC dedicated to teaching. Maybe dedicate a PC to teaching that does not contain sensitive data. The bonus? Provide a supporting video that tells how ransomware spreads and what damage it can do, especially to mom and dad’s pockets
3. Raise Awareness In The Family Unit
The decalogue can be shared with all the participants in this collective smart working. It turns out, among other things, that no device in the house has an antivirus, that the WiFi network is open and that the credit card code is stored in a virtual post-it on the desktop. It turns out, again, that no one has ever made the backup, and that the password to access all systems is the same and is the dog’s name.
And then there are the IT solutions. Are we sure that the public or educational institution has made the right infrastructure choices? We will check it during the streaming event to be held on April 26th at 11 am, below the link for registration!