Tips for colleges to safeguard students from cyber attacks

January 7th, 2019

BY SAMANTHA BROWN

Which are the entities according to you that suffer from the biggest Cybersecurity threats in modern times? Brace up for a shocking revelation! It is SCHOOLS. It is not unknown that all individuals associated with a school – be it teachers or students, use the computer, or most precisely the internet on a regular basis, in heavy frequencies. When a security breach occurs on a school or college network, it can be with the intent of extracting sensitive information, or many a times can be just to disrupt the operation of critical academic processes.

It took a while for schools and colleges to realize and accept that they are potential targets of cyber criminals. And now when they did, it’s about time to come up with robust strategies to safeguard valuable assets which are probably the earnings of someone’s lifelong hard work.

You as students are in maximum danger if there is a cyber attack. Hence, it is important that you realize the gravity of the situation, urge your school to take actions and do your bit to keep and stay cyber safe at all times.

Here are a few guidelines that would help you combat cyber attackers…

  • Don’t ever try to download media that’s free and unknown from your college network

When you download torrents or stream videos online, you expose your computer to loads of suspicious malware and harmful viruses. There are certain Trojan-viruses, which are capable of recording every single move of yours, on the computer – which would obviously include all the user IDs and passwords you enter. By avoiding sites that promote piracy and content that’s illegal, you would be able to keep a lot of attackers away.

 

  • Avoid saving your payment details online

Whenever you make any online purchase, the e-commerce websites always give you the option of saving your transaction or card details for a faster checkout in future. Although it seems like a great option, it’s advisable not to opt for it, especially if you are using your college systems, even if you are making purchases from the big and reliable brands. Attackers are always on a lookout for this stored information. And if they catch hold of it, that would be it.

 

  • Avoid using public cloud based services

Cloud based technologies like One Drive and Dropbox although are great tools for students to share notes and projects, open up new avenues for attackers to access your network and your personal information. So, if your college authorities refrain you from using these medium, cooperate with them as a short term gain might cause you a long term pain. Also, avoid using external devices like SD cards and memory sticks as much as possible.

There are certain policies which can only be implemented by the institution’s authorities. So student associations are advised to request their institutions to implement policies such as the following:

  • Maintain a discretion in terms of providing access

Segregate profiles, and offer access to critical information only to individuals who genuinely need it. Ensure that one username and password should not provide access to all nooks and corners. Also, control the kinds of information that users can copy, download or share via email from institution portals.

 

  • Enforce updated technological barriers

Ensure that all the systems being used within the premises of the institution, or the ones which are provided by the institute to access sensitive information, is well protected b y anti-virus software, upgraded firewalls and other security tools.

 

  • Take the authentication process seriously

When it comes to accessing crucial and private information, implement a structure which requires multi-level authentication.

 

  • Invest on the encryption tools

You have to be far sighted and be prepared to give a tough fight to the cyber criminals right till the very end. They might be able to extract the information, but then what? It’s of no use to them unless they can read the information. Here’s where data encryption comes into play. Use the best possible tools for encrypting all data, including those which you think aren’t too valuable.

While these are the small yet significant everyday measures teachers, students and authorities should take to safeguard themselves, there are also some serious protections that need to be implemented.One such preventive step is opting for a cyber insurance policy.Jumping right to the point, let’s talk about what kind of cyber breach scenarios you can expect protection from, under the umbrella of such insurances.

  • Expenses which result from a privacy breach. It includes the investigation and forensic research expenses, and in some cases also the public relations cost
  • The cost of implementing new sets of regulations for the cause of defending a breach that is levied by federal authorities or state regulatory bodies.
  • The expenses for the lawsuits to retaliate breaches
  • Coverage for extortion amounts, resulting a cyber attack
  • The loss suffered by the institution as a result of the cyber attack, and subsequent system disruption.

Cyber insurance coverage have popularized over time, as technologies have started becoming more complex, and attacks have started getting more severe. So it’s high time we all realize the importance of it and consider it as a wise investment.While technology has given us a plethora of rewards over the years and still continues to give so, it brings along with it certain evils which we must be prepared to combat.

By-line

Samantha Brown is a freelance writer who specializes on carrier guidance, she is also motivational speaker and author

 

 

 

 

 

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