Covid 19 and cyber security is a very interesting topic to talk about in the time and age we are living in. However, if you look closely, it is not just about the pandemic we are dealing with. The VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world invariably keeps high demands for cyber security. In one of our previous blogs, we talked about how this global pandemic is opening doors for continuous learning with the help of e-learning platforms. Invariably, several tech platforms that exist today are helping students keep up with their academics. This also translates to continuous academic achievement for students in remote areas who seldom have access to conventional education.
Do you think e-learning platforms have the potential to transform the future of education? Read More.
However, with the promise of e-learning comes the challenge of covid 19 and cyber security. If you glance through the news, you will come across several news pieces on how covid 19 and cyber security are not pairing up well. The challenge lies that most online platforms that we use to keep our academics and business going are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The fact is that it is not only e-learning platforms that are being disrupted but also hospitals and other key sectors. Therefore, the intent of this article is to help you secure yourself as concerns for covid 19 and cyber security are on the rise.
We will begin with exploring some covid 19 news focusing on the impact of covid 19 and cyber security concerns for e-learning. Then we will discuss how students can protect themselves and be responsible cyber citizens. Finally, we will discuss some of the practices leading e-learning platforms are following to promote cyber security.
Covid 19 News: Covid 19 and Cyber Security
If you google covid 19 and cyber security, you will come across a plethora of articles on how there have been multiple cyber attacks in the past few weeks. While cyber-attacks did take place earlier as well, however, their propensity has increased manifold in recent weeks. If you look at the statistics, there has been an addition of 1700 new zoom accounts in this year and 25% of those have come up in the past few weeks. While most of them are authentic, about 4% seem suspicious to authorities.
But, to blame only zoom would be an understatement. Almost all online portals are undergoing some kind of phishing or cyber security breaches. Many e-learning platforms are seeing fake websites floating phony discount offers, siphoning money and data out of students. Let’s quickly go through some news pieces on covid 19 and cyber security.
Hacking Public Videoconferencing Meetings
If we talk about covid 19 and cyber security, we need to talk about how e-learning platforms that use zoom for videoconferencing are under threat. Zoom has been a choice for most e-learning providers because it is easy to use. To attract more students to their portals, many platforms publicly display the meeting ID that potential students can use to join the session, which is often a trial class. However, cybercriminals see this as an opportunity and hack their way into these public zoom meetings. This not only creates mayhem in the online class but also puts the identity and safety of the students attending the class at risk.
Installation of Malicious Software
In addition to hacking of public zoom and other videoconferencing meetings, there is also the unmindful installation of malicious software. It is common for students during this pandemic to surf online for free or discounted courses to pass their time constructively. However, unmindful, most of us don’t check the authenticity of any URL before clicking on it. While it may seem harmless to look at, there can be several problems to it. At times, some sites, which look credible, prompt us for some installations. And, often, because we are getting we courses, we go ahead with those installations. Not to generalize, but many of them are often malicious and end up stealing our data, other sensitive information.
Fraudulent Discount Offers
While one face of the story is the installation of malicious software and putting your personal information at stake, there is another side to it. At times, several e-learning platforms are offering huge discounts which make us go gaga over them. However, again we overlook the authenticity. When we are getting 90% off on any e-learning platform, we don’t bother checking if the site is even authentic or not. We only care about the fact that we are getting a sought-after course at a fraction of the price. And covid 19 and cyber security concerns are highest here. Not only is your data at stake, but also the payment you make leaves all your banking details out in the open.
If the e-learning platforms you are using are malicious there are two problems. On the one hand, the payment you make will not yield any results. Since the portal is fake, you will not get any return on the investment you make. On the other hand, the bigger problem is that your payment details will be open to the hacker to siphon off more money.
What have been some of the top covid 19 and cyber security concerns that you are facing? Comment below and share!
Covid 19 and Cyber Security: The Solutions
Undoubtedly, it is true that e-learning is going through a tough time in the face of covid 19 and cyber security. However, there is no need to lose hope. There are several ways in which e-learning platforms are making an effort to protect the students and come out as responsible educators in the digital space. But, as consumers, there are quite a few safeguards and practices we can also follow to protect ourselves from the concerns of covid 19 and cyber security.
Protect your Data
There is a lot of private data that you have on your computer which you need to protect from cyber-attacks. However, when we talk about covid 19 and cyber security, your data on e-learning platforms also needs protection. Let us look closely at this point. Whenever you create an account on e-learning platforms, you input a lot of personal data including your demographics and even your payment details.
As the use of e-learning platforms is on the rise, so is the volume of data and the attached vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals can easily hack into your account and use your data for criminal and fraudulent purposes. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself in times of covid 19 and cyber security:
- Have strong passwords: One of the top ways to protect your data on e- learning platforms as we deal with concerns of covid 19 and cyber security is to have strong passwords. Using passwords like your name or just 123456 are very easy to guess. Have at least 8 characters in your password and make it a combination of numbers, alphabets and symbols.
- Delete your data: It is also very important that you keep deleting your cache data every now and then to make sure that even if anyone hacks into your system, they are unable to retrieve your data.
- Give permissions cautiously: Finally, it is also very important that you give permissions cautiously. Frequently, a pop up appears from websites asking to access your email address and data. You are unmindful and click on allow because of the freebies you are getting. Avoid doing that. You are risking your data.
Protection against Suspicious Links
To be honest, when you are online, especially when talking about covid 19 and cyber security, it is not just how you access and protect your data that matters. Phishing attacks and identity theft are also common. Put simply, phishing attacks are where you voluntarily surrender your personal information to cybercriminals without your knowledge. Here are some ways to deal with it:
- Don’t click on suspicious links: Be certain that if any link looks fishy to you, do not click on it. Often, you might receive spam mails from platforms that resemble your e- learning platforms and prompt you to click on random links. There links are malicious and can put your information and details at risk.
- Check authenticity before moving forward: If you receive an email from your regular e- learning platforms but they seem odd. If that is the case, then go to your portal and match logos and other elements of your e- learning platform and the mail you receive. You might notice subtle differences which can point to suspicious activity.
- Ensure security certification: A lot of malicious websites do not have security certifications. More often than not, we tend to over look that certification and continue. That is not a heroic act. Make sure that you only enter a website without a security certification if you are very sure that if won’t hack your data. Preferably, avoid it.
Have a Good Anti- virus
Finally, it is very important to have a strong anti-virus when you are using e-learning platforms. You may choose from different alternatives like Norton, McAfee, etc. You can take your pick. An anti-virus will help protect your data and identity. Even if you click on any malicious link or try to install suspicious software, this anti-virus will prevent it from happening and will notify you that your security is at risk.
Which is the anti-virus that you use? Comment below and help you, fellow online learners, too
Covid 19 and Cyber Security: What are E- learning Platforms doing?
To simply discredit any effort that e-learning platforms are taking in the times of covid- 19 and cyber security is also unfair. Almost every platform today is making a sincere effort to ensure that the learners that come to it are safe and secure.
At TutorBin.com, we are following a very comprehensive approach to ensure the same. We believe that only when our students are safe and secure can we ensure meaningful learning. Following are a few practices we are adhering to:
- To begin with, we have in place very robust security practices with appropriate security certifications to ensure that our learners are not redirected to any malicious links.
- Thirdly, we focus on in depth background checks of all our subject matter experts. Not only do we ensure that they have robust subject knowledge, but we also ascertain their background check. This is done through proper references and meticulous procedures.
Covid 19 and Cyber Security: The Final Call
No matter what security practices your e-learning platforms undertake unless you make an effort to ensure your security, you will not be able to address the concerns of covid 19 and cyber security. Ensure that you follow all the security measures mentioned above. If you want some help with your assignments from a trusted and safe online tutoring partner, you may want to try us out!