Keeping kids safe from cyber threats during remote learning

Back To School

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)—As more schools switch to remote learning this year, it’s important parents know how to keep their children safe online.

Global information technology company Unisys says since students will be spending more time on computers, their risk of running into cyber threats increases.

Cyber attacks pose risks not only to the child’s schoolwork, but also to every family member working and learning through a shared Wi-Fi network.

Chief Information Security Officer at Unisys Mathew Newfield shared steps families can take to stay safe online.

He says parents should first look for software support. If a parent is unable to fully supervise a child while they’re doing school work, there is “nanny software” that people can invest in that helps monitor a child’s online activity.

“We’re also seeing a significant increase in attacks against home IP networks,” Newfield said. “So if you think about your cable modem provider, or your DSL provider or your highspeed internet provider, the range of IP addresses that they give to homeowners are under a heightened attack.”

He also says to make sure you are protecting your Wi-Fi network and devices around the house by updating to the latest firmware and checking for security risks. It is also important to change default passwords and use passwords of significant strength.

“Take an inventory of your house,” Newfield said. “What are the things you have that are internet accessible where they can go out to the internet or attach to other things in your homes, things like smart TVs.”

Newfield says before going to an unknown website, verify the hyperlinks.

“Be suspicious of those links, and one of the recommendations we always make is take your mouse and hover it,” Newfield said. “Hover over that link. Is it sending you to a place that is different than your school’s URL? Is it going to a place you don’t recognize?”

He says most importantly, talk to your children about cyber safety.

“Having a conversation about what online security looks like and what best practices are as well as an open dialogue of what you’re going to be doing when it comes to monitoring their activities and working with them on what you see on a day-to-day basis,” Newfield said.

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