big data privacy concerns

Does Remote Learning Compromise Online Security?

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PUREVPNPrivacy & SecurityDoes Remote Learning Compromise Online Security?

No more school debates, lunches, and sports practice. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop at everything and learning has transformed into remote classes in most countries. Teachers are now using Zoom as well as other online video conferencing tools to continue teaching at home. However, are these video conferencing tools really safe? Let’s find out the reality.

Zoom was Hacked Many Times

Do you know millions of Zoom accounts were sold and hacked recently? Schoolteachers have been spending hours on Zoom and giving online lectures thinking no one is watching. This is putting their online security at risk as Zoom is a video conferencing app with low security against targeted attacks.

The popularity of such videoconferencing apps is rising and companies are offering free subscription plans to get more customers. Most teachers are now using free video conferencing tools and often forget to log out of their accounts. This can make it easy for hackers to penetrate Zoom accounts and access private information. This is the reason why teachers, school admins, and students must be wary about sharing information on these video conferencing apps.

Such video conferencing apps or remote learning programs might also have problems related to security and privacy. Furthermore, schools must tell parents everything about how they are using the data of their children.  If any school fails to give parents access to their kid’s data, then they are violating FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) policies and security guidelines.

FERPA rules apply to kids who are 18 years old or younger. Whether a kid is studying at school physically or taking online classes at home, schools must have student records with them at all times. Also, all schools must share student’s data willingly with their parents if need be.

Many cybersecurity experts suggest schools must take precautionary measures when it comes to using videoconferencing apps. Rather than using the cheapest or simplest online tool, know the security and privacy risks first. In this way, you can reduce the risk of malware attacks and data theft.

The best advice is to share as little information as possible. Schools must train students and teachers to communicate safely on video conferencing apps and be wary of sharing private information. Collecting student’s data can put your kids at risk of cyberbullying, data theft, and illegal tracking. This is the reason why it is important to avoid giving hackers anything to catch on.

Should Schools Focus on Better Security Products?

Many schools are facing trouble with choosing the right remote learning tools. Considering the recent history of Zoom hacks, schools must use security-driven video conferencing apps and remote learning programs. Still, schools are overlooking security warnings and investing in new remote learning tools to teach students without any second thought about privacy

In many cases, some schools were desperate to sign up for a remote teaching tool with no security agreement in place. The COVID-19 pandemic has also pushed schools to make a fast and uneasy decision for choosing online tools security-wise. The legal representatives of every school district should work with the IT team to be responsible for making these decisions and ensuring the data privacy of all students.

New York is one of the few states that deeply vets an online product before allowing schools to use them. Sometimes the legal experts take up to 6 months to vet a new security product if there is no urgency. Connecticut’s Governor Ned Lamont has to waive the privacy laws related to student’s data to make sure the schools are providing better education.

Schools are not allowed to use student’s data or previous records without consent according to the state’s privacy laws. Many parents are concerned about their kids and recommended to waive the privacy laws to speed up remote teaching initiatives. However, schools have to work on transparent and flexible teaching programs.

Companies Offer Reliable Tools for Remote Learning

When it comes to building technology products for education, companies do follow privacy laws and security guidelines. However, using an online communication tool for remote teaching programs that are not related to education is the biggest concern right now. Online learning portals are on the verge of malware attacks or hacking if there are no solid security protocols. 

As schools struggle to onboard students to new remote learning programs, Ed-tech companies must focus on how an online tool can help teachers provide better education. We can’t blame schools for the security flaws in remote teaching programs as the lockdown was urgent.

Can You Trust Zoom?

More than 62 million users have an account on Zoom after the lockdown was in effect in many states and countries. The best part about using Zoom is the app is free but the security concerns were alarming. However, few incidents occured where a hacker penetrated an online class and started abusing the kids. Our cybersecurity experts recommend using an online communication tool that complies with the FERPA laws. 

Safety Tips: Parents must cover the webcams of their kid’s laptops or computers when they are not having an online lecture. In this way, the Zoom accounts remain safe and hidden from hackers or surveillance agencies. The company can activate webcams automatically so it’s better to cover them with black tape.

Another problem for teachers is to ask the parents first before starting a remote class for kids under 13. Security experts want to ensure there is no inappropriate misconduct during an online lecture. For instance, teachers must wear proper clothing and no one should be roaming at the back without a shirt. Schools are using various safety methods to enhance the privacy of their students and teachers online.

Some schools are avoiding videoconferencing classes and encouraging the students to attend an online class without turning on their cameras. Also, schools are instructing teachers to avoid teaching individual kids and conduct video chats with the entire class only.

zoom trust issues

Do you have Kids who take Online Classes? You Should Know this!

Parents! You have the responsibility to make sure your kids are safe online without any threats to their private data. Some parents have no clue about FERPA and the laws protecting kids from cyberbullying or online harassment. School districts offer training to teachers as well regarding the safety of school kids but there is more that needs to be done in the privacy ecosystem.

At all costs, you must avoid sharing credit card information, student’s credentials, or your home address when sending a message online to teachers or school admins. Hackers can easily penetrate online communication streams and steal data if you are not vigilant. Plus, teachers must not use a computer with malware because this can put the school data at risk of theft or manipulation.

Schools can send letters to children’s parents about privacy policies and security guidelines. In this way, every parent is aware of the security flaws in video conferencing apps or remote teaching programs and must act smartly. 

5 Cybersecurity Tips to Boost Privacy when Teaching Remotely

Looking for a way to fight against hackers? Don’t let them steal your data or private information. Parents or kids are more likely to fall into a hacker’s trap or become a victim of a phishing attack if they have no security measures in place. The following are five tips to make remote learning safer for both kids and teachers.

  1. Train Students and Teachers about Online Security: Teachers should learn the basic security measures for remote teaching programs. Teachers and students must avoid clicking on any suspicious links or pictures in an email (which might be a phishing attack).   
  2. Find Security Gaps: Encourage students to use school devices rather than their phones during an online lecture. Also, connect the devices to a secure Wi-Fi network and update any videoconferencing software regularly.
  3. Make Security Guidelines: Always vet external learning resources before allowing teachers to use them in their remote lessons. This can reduce privacy and security flaws because you are protecting every learning program against malware attacks.
  4. Change Passwords Regularly: If teachers and students are updating passwords, then they are making it difficult for hackers to do their job. Plus, you can enhance privacy by using two-factor authentication every time you are logging in to your school device. 
  5. Use a VPN: A VPN app can help you remain anonymous online by hiding your online identity. As remote learning and working have become common after the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are investing in air-tight security protocols like VPNs to stay safe and protect their data.

Bonus Tip: Schools can secure all the data on the cloud for more safety. As digital learning platforms are evolving, it is important to secure communication streams and student’s data on a safe network like the cloud.

Lastly…

We eat, sleep, and breathe cybersecurity. And as cybersecurity experts, we recommend you must strengthen your online identity and safeguard data from hackers. No one knows when things will get back to normal. In the meantime, all we can do is carry on with our work and make sure no one is stealing our private data online.

Guide:

Learn how to protect your at-home Wi-Fi and private data.

Learn How to Unlink Google Accounts from devices.

author

PureVPN

date

June 21, 2024

time

1 month ago

PureVPN is a leading VPN service provider that excels in providing easy solutions for online privacy and security. With 6000+ servers in 65+ countries, It helps consumers and businesses in keeping their online identity secured.

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