As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, 165 million students went home and some of them take their education from a distance, so it is possible that there are computer attacks against the education system. If this sector does not secure their information and communications, with the increase of online learning, they could be a target of attack. For this reason, here are some cybersecurity tips.
Cybersecurity tips when taking online classes. Photo: Pixabay.
Protect student data
Some students in Latin America may hack into school systems in order to modify their grades. For example, an evaluation system of a Mexican educational institution was hacked and the grades of 28 students were changed, with this, the problems of attacks have increased, since hackers have taken advantage of vulnerabilities in computer systems from schools.
In years past in the United States, more than 500 educational centers were attacked through the famous data hijacks, in addition, hackers demanded the amount of 1.6 million dollars. During the past summer, many universities were affected by these kidnappings. In the case of the University of Utah it paid around half a million dollars for ransom, in June and July, hackers threatened to sell Columbia College student data on the dark web.
In this sense, the protection of student data is of utmost importance, taking into account that the educational system has stored enormous amounts of information and not only the scores of the exams that are applied, but data such as: age, race, gender, special education, evaluations on the behavior of students, among others, so the treatment that could be given to such information is encryption and restriction.
Protect third-party platforms
Some education systems are likely to use third-party learning platforms, such as Blackboard or Canvas, which may have a custom branding for the school. These two-factor authentication should be mandatory for these systems, as some schools only allow single sign-on access to these systems.
Protect your site
Your education community website could be protected with a TLS / SSL certificate to encrypt information and ensure trust in your site. There are three types of TLS certificates: Domain Validation (DV), Organization Validation (OV), and Extended Validation (EV). EV certificates provide the highest level of authentication and are the global standard for encrypting highly sensitive data.
Secure communications and online classrooms
There are times when some joking users could access other accounts, in order to hack videoconferencing classes to post inappropriate messages. Role-based accounts and access control could help prevent this type of intrusion. In addition, it is possible that the computer systems of the schools request a new periodic authentication.
In videoconference rooms
Attacks on video conferencing platforms are likely to have increased considerably. For example, in the spring of last year, the University of Antioquia in Colombia was the victim of unauthorized access, during a Zoom videoconference.
Also some private universities in Brazil were attacked by pirates during Zoom classes. Regardless of the platform used, there should be the assurance that only those users who have permission to share the screen, chat and lead the discussion, access videoconferences, in order that the classes are safe and there is no intruders causing trouble.
On devices provided by the school
In this case, high levels of online learning security could be added through Mobile Device Management (MDM), which is likely to give you control over all user devices remotely.
Cybercriminals access students’ electronic accounts for fun, with the aim of blocking students. For this reason, schools should verify that the devices provided to them do not use them for malware installation. You could also protect your mail through protocols such as S / MIME and work towards obtaining DMARC certification for your domain.
On important documents like report cards and diplomas
Finally, to avoid a possible attack on the report cards or diplomas by the students themselves or by outsiders, schools could use digital documents that demonstrate the identity and authenticity of the sender and are difficult to be manipulated.
Educational institutions and teachers might consider authentication, access control, data integrity, and content protection, with the goal of keeping their students safe with their respective courses. The educational community is likely to have two primary concerns for the safety of online learning. First, the protection of confidential data and secondly, guarantee the security of communications and online classes.
According to information from the OECD, 79% of students aged 15 or over have access to the internet, which serves as a tool to continue their education in their locality: 91% in Brazil, 88% in Chile, 87% in Uruguay, 83% in Argentina and Costa Rica, 68% in Mexico and 67% in Colombia.
With information from DigiCert, Inc.
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