Education has drastically changed with the emergence of technology. Approximately 80% of children now have access to a computer at home and start using the Internet at an early age. While this has its benefits in developing future skills that will be vital to them later on, it also has its dangers. Lauren Naylor of Grapevine, Texas warns that it could be a gateway to cyberbullying––an epidemic that affects close to 43% of children, with repeated attacks in one in four cases. Computer screens offer a protective barrier for prospective cyberbullies, giving them the anonymity they need to carry out their attacks. You’ll learn that this façade is the same one hackers and spies hide behind as well. So, here’s where proper cybersecurity measures come in.
Internet Security Starts with Good Habits
No school should be exempt from teaching good cybersecurity habits. We place emphasis on the word “habits,” as it’s imperative that this becomes second nature to students, should the possibility of dangerous cyberspace situations occur. The 2019 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index reports that the education sector is the ninth most targeted industry. Hackers and attackers have become even more skilled at stealing students’ data and intellectual property, and many schools find themselves unprepared should these breaches occur. This should be a school-wide concern. In this regard, cybersecurity education programs that teach students about things like phishing and malware should be integral to school curricula. This program must encompass programs or software for the institution to manage risks, while also supplying students (and employees) with the right reflexes if and when threats are no longer simulations.
No One is Too Big or Too Small
You may be reading this and thinking that this isn’t something that would happen to you. You may know, have, or teach a child who thinks along the same lines. The more this attitude prevails, the more vulnerable you may be towards breaches in data privacy. An article on the ‘Dangers of Cyberattacks’ illustrates that many startups have this same mindset, thinking that cyberattacks only affect large corporations. In reality, anyone with any form of gadget connected to the worldwide web may be prone to attacks. At times, attacks can be insidious in the form of fake email addresses, text messages with various offers, or the opening of file attachments. While they appear to be harmless, they could lead to hacks and the stealing of information. TechRadar advises that school network security training is a must for both staff and students, as data breaches are often the result of human error. All parties have to work together to mitigate attacks.
Cybersecurity is for Everyone
Cybersecurity is not just for professionals in the IT industry, as children should become aware of personal online security even from an early age. Because many young students can be so trusting in giving out information, this may backfire on them. They are more likely to open websites with viruses embedded, or give out personal data on sketchy websites. So, it goes without saying that it’s important that they are provided the proper guidance against doing things like this. While “leaving it up to the pros” may be tempting as they do have the responsibility to enact and install the most secure measures, we all have a part in ensuring that the Internet is a safe space. We can all learn, as there are various resources available to anyone willing to put in the time. Experts like Alexander Oni and Reza Zaheri have published a range of beginner courses on Udemy, while Lester Evans and Zach Webber have published entire collections of ‘‘Cybersecurity for Beginners’ books geared towards those clueless on the subject. Many of these guides put a premium on online awareness, and in becoming more vigilant to the plethora of threats on the Internet, students will most likely develop good habits when it comes to Internet safety and technology in general. They will never outgrow lessons in cybersecurity and the habits these instill––which are just as important as learning how to use the Internet in the first place.