August 18, 2022

Back to School Cyber Safety

Back to School Cyber Safety

In today’s educational atmosphere, technology is a very valuable tool. Without the technology that is available today, educating during COVID lockdowns would not have been possible. Though this hyper connectedness has made many improvements to learning, it can also put students at risk for cyber criminals and attacks. As students head back to the school for the fall, they must be ready to deal with these threats.

Last year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) issued a joint advisory warning of ransomware attacks, Distributed Denial-of-Service Attacks (DDoS) and video conference disruptions against schools. Ransomware is a particularly dangerous threat to schools. An attack last year involved a ransomware attack where a hacker demanded forty million dollars, or they would post the personal information of students and teachers online.

Why are schools a frequent target for cyberattacks?

The personal information within a school is extremely valuable to hackers because parents are less likely to notice that their child’s identity has been stolen. This is especially true if there is no bank account in the child’s name. Cybersecurity is also often hard to maintain in schools. It is often overlooked as a need and many schools lack the budget for a strong cybersecurity defense initiative.

Tekscape is a national IT managed service provider to several educational facilities. We support educational institutes across the nation with managed IT, security, and collaboration tools for successful outcomes and performance.

What is a managed service provider and how can it keep students safe from cyberthreats?

A managed service provider is a third-party company that remotely manages a school’s technology. Managed service providers for schools offer managed security, network support, cloud-based backup, and collaboration. Using an MSP for managed security can assist in keeping the personal and financial data of students safe. They can help spot the gaps in cybersecurity infrastructure, assist in maintaining compliance, and provide disaster recovery service if there is a large-scale cybersecurity attack on the school.  

Students and password safety

A common cybersecurity best practice is to use different passwords for different accounts and devices. Unfortunately, 53% of people admit that they reuse passwords for multiple accounts. This makes hijacking accounts and stealing personal information much easier for hackers. Many students use the same password for their educational software, social media, and online gaming.

If a hacker is able to crack one password, they may then be able to gain access to the credit card that was used to pay for the child’s monthly gaming subscription. When a child selects a password, it should be a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Using a complex password makes them more difficult for hackers to crack. Another option is to encourage the child to use a long phrase that is familiar to them, but strangers would find difficult to guess.

Educate students on the dangers of phishing scams and how to spot them.

Teens and tweens are just as susceptible to phishing scams as adults. In fact, children are more likely to fall for these when they increase their time online which for many ends up being most of the school year. A typical phishing scam involves a hacker sending an email claiming to be from a bank, credit card, or service provider such as Amazon or Netflix. The emails look surprisingly legitimate and often say that unusual activity has been detected on the account of the target. There is always a link that must be clicked and with it the target is taken to a site that looks legitimate. The malicious site will convince the target to enter credit card numbers or social security numbers.

Kids are more likely to fall victim to phishing scams that come from a fake video game provider or retailer. They may not think twice about providing their parent’s credit card information if the hacker threatens to shut down their gaming accounts. Both parents and teachers need to encourage children to notify them if they receive an email that asks for sensitive information.

Turn on automatic updates for apps and programs on school related devices.

Cyber criminals often target apps and programs on devices that students use for school. An easy way to prevent these apps from getting hacked is to turn on all the automatic updates for apps and programs on student devices. Automatic updates contain the latest protection against malware and viruses. Malware and viruses that manage to make their way into student’s devices allow hackers to spy on their online activity and steal information. If your student’s devices do not have automatic updates turned on, it is best to contact your IT department or managed service provider to turn them on.

Encourage students to practice safe computing in and out of the classroom.

Students should be aware of safe computing practices. These practices may include not opening suspicious email attachments, using caution when downloading files, and not browsing unsecure websites. If students are using devices previously owned by others, be sure to wipe them before usage. Make sure students are aware of scams they may run into where personal information is exchanged for free products and services.

About Tekscape

Tekscape has been a recognized managed IT services company since 2007, headquartered in New York City. Currently, we operate via two physical locations in the United States. Based on our engineers’ deep technical knowledge and leveraging our strategic relationships with the world’s leading cloud providers, Tekscape excels at supporting companies globally with information technology solutions. Tekscape services include managed IT, managed security services, cloud computing, network, advisory services, compliance, and collaboration

Our mission

To protect and serve clients with customized and innovative IT solutions by delivering high quality and secure technologies.

Allow our clients, through exceptional service, to meet and exceed their business goals.

Over the years, Tekscape’s strong leadership and project management have earned the company a valuable reputation as a trusted partner with some of the best technology brands. As a leader in IT projects and management, Tekscape provides experience, independence, professionalism, and high-quality services to clients in the most demanding environments. Tekscape is a hands-on type of company and known for its technical competence and strategic thinking toward client projects.

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