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Cybersecurity Risks With Remote Learning

For many students, back to school session is right around the corner. Under the new circumstances of remote learning, students need to become aware of the importance of data security. School districts in the United States already have many cybersecurity shortcomings. Many lack the funding and skilled personnel to provide cybersecurity defenses. With many cybersecurity vulnerabilities in remote learning environments, hackers know they are easily able to squeeze through the door and attack. 

SecureCircle understands the challenges enterprises have with protected sensitive data, including PII, PCI, PHI, and corporate trade secrets.  SecureCircle's Zero Trust data protection eliminates data breaches and insider threats by protecting all data outside of SaaS applications. SecureCircle's Data Access Security Broker (DASB) protects and monitors data, including data egressing from enterprise cloud services and managed repositories to enforce access controls on data regardless of location, including cloud and endpoint devices. SecureCircle protects data transparently and persistently at scale delivering the world's only Zero Trust data protection. Schools are not different.

Many schools are relying on video communications such as Zoom and Google Hangouts for remote learning. For many teachers, transitioning from in-class to online sessions has been pretty tricky already. Because of that, some teachers struggle to secure their data on the platforms adequately. “Zoombombing,” a term used for internet trolling on video conferences involving an unwelcome guest who takes over the audio or video controls to display inappropriate materials or remarks. Zoombombing was non-existent up until schools went online. On April 1, a video meeting hosted by Utah’s Alpine School District was interrupted by an uninvited guest. The hacker revealed pornographic images to dozens of elementary school students. Internet trolling is one of the many reasons why everyone should be taking extra security precautions online. Now, it is more common for schools to set up their meetings using passwords. 

Students who use learning platforms, such as K12 and Chegg, also face many cybersecurity vulnerabilities. With most of these platforms, students are required to create an account using their personal information. Without proper security measures, the user’s account information is bound to get stolen. Last year, K12 failed to keep one of their databases updated, which left almost 7 million records for 19,000 students available for anyone to take. The information exposed included full names, email addresses, birthdates, gender, age, and school names. Something as minor as a database issue can lead to a violation of a student’s privacy, increasing their risk of identity theft, spear phishing, or even physical harm. 

Another major issue with remote learning is the increased amount of phishing scams targeting students. Just with one click, a hacker can unlock your username, password, personal information, or even download malware onto the device. Hackers typically pose as administrators of the school, sending compelling messages to get students to click on their link. It is imperative for students to become aware of what they are clicking on and how much damage it can cause. 

We understand that teachers, parents, and students are not prepared to be IT administrators, so we’ve put together a few tips to improve your cybersecurity this school year.

  • Do not reuse passwords: If the password gets stolen, hackers are easily able to gain access to multiple different accounts.
  • Make sure your device is updated with the latest updates for your operating system and applications: many hackers rely on known vulnerabilities in older versions.
  • Never provide anyone your password.
  • Don’t post any personal information, such as your phone number or address online. Your teacher and school already know this information and will not be asking for it.

With SecureCircle, data is proactively protected regardless of where data is created, consumed, stored, or modified. SecureCircle’s DASB seamlessly integrates with existing systems, ensuring there is zero impact on the current workflow or productivity. Now more than ever, it is more vital that schools and students take on higher security measures.

Cybersecurity Risks That Come With Remote Learning