Cyber Security in Education What teachers and students should know

Mohinder Kumar Goswami
NEP 2020 envisions the use of technology in Education and focuses on the blended mode of learning. As per NEP 2020-Para 24.1 “New circumstances and realties require new initiatives. The recent rise in epidemic and pandemics necessitates that we are ready with the alternative modes of quality education whenever and wherever traditional and in person mode of education is not possible .In this regard ,the National Education Policy 2020 recognizes the importance of leveraging the advantages of technology while acknowledging its potential ,risks and dangers .It calls for carefully designed and appropriately scaled pilot studies to determine how the benefits of online / digital platform and ongoing ICT based educational initiatives must be optimized and expanded to meet the current and future challenges in providing quality education for all”.
But now the question arises, are we fully prepared to counter the cyber security challenges in education? Have we also prepared the students about cyber security? Have we made the students aware about the do’s and don’ts of cyber world and Cyber Security? Have we built the capacity of teachers/HOIs in making students aware about different types of cyber crimes? The recent shifts towards e-learning and a significant increase in online communication has exposed the risk of cyber attacks. Cyber criminals are finding opportunities to defraud schools and steal sensitive information or deploy ransomware software. The recent shift by the educational intuitions towards digital learning has resulted in increased number of students and teachers utilizing the internet for both the learning and teaching .Students are increasingly using online learning materials and different assessment tools via devices like mobile phones ,tablets and computers belonging either to themselves or to their parents .They are now ,more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than ever before as they face various security risks due to online and blended learning .The recent reports show an increase in cyber threats in education sector making cyber security a top priority not only for the students and their parents but also for the teachers .
Now -a -days, cyber security is a big concern as internet, computers, smart phones and other communication technology, devices have become an integral part of our life and they are the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Just imagine, how much time, we spend each day on these smart devices. We are using various social platforms and money apps like Mails, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram,Telegram ,google pay, phone pay etc. for doing everything in life from paying bills to get online education. But most of us are unaware of cyber safety and security essentials to safeguards ourselves. While spending more time on the internet for accessing education and other communication purposes, children have also become more vulnerable to multiple risks particularly in the context of online sexual abuse ,cyber bullying ,online harassment ,Phishing attack ,online drug trafficking ,Online Banking Fraud, Smishing Fraud ,Sympathy fraud ,Romance Fraud, Online Gaming Fraud, Cyber Grooming ,Data Breach ,cyber victimization and many other privacy related risks .
Do’s and Don’ts of cyber safety for students, parents and teachers
If you notice that your fake account has been created, you can immediately inform social media service provider so that the account can be blocked. Don’t accept friend requests from the unknown people on social media.
Use passphrase instead of passwords and change password regularly. Don’t share your password and personal information .Try to restrict access of your profile to friends only.
Include Capital letters ,small letters and special characters to build strong passwords Never install unknown softwares and Gaming apps from unknown sources.
If someone is bullying you or cyber stalking or posting inappropriate comments, inform police or parents. Never meet a person whom you meet online only
Always remember to sign off/log out from the public devices /cyber café devices after using them. Never turn your webcam on while you chat with unknown friends whom you met online
You must change your privacy setting on social media Don’t click ‘yes’on remembered password popup if login from the other devices not belonging to you.
Ensure to factor authentication for login Avoid making online transactions using public Wi-Fi or a computer software.
Always make a habit to review the monthly statements of your bank account and credit. Never share CVV, Expiry date, PIN ,OTP etc. with anyone
If your social media account is hacked or compromised, send an alert email or message to all your contacts and change the password immediately . Never share mean comments or hurtful messages or embarrassing pictures /videos online.
In case of cyber Frauds/Financial Fraud immediately report on or call on 1930
Our new generation is getting exposure to cyber space at a very young age. It is very necessary to keep pace with the changing techno-world and making students’ future ready .Meanwhile, it is important not only to impart digital literacy but also fostering a mindset of adaptability and critical thinking in students. It is the need of hour to align education with the demands of digital age. It recognizes the necessity of preparing students to navigate the complexities of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, block chain etc. By incorporating cyber security awareness into academic curricula, we can develop resilience in the young generation to thrive in this techno driven world .Cyber security concerns in emerging technologies aims to provide an overview and counter measures for evolving threat landscapes with the specific focus on ransom-ware .As society embraces innovations, it is important to understand and mitigate the risks associated with the artificial intelligence. There is need of demystification of cyber threat intelligence ,empowering students, teachers and parents with the knowledge to stay ahead of potential threats .This approach ensures that the students ,parents ,teachers and policy makers are well equipped to navigate the intricate landscape of networks ,data and devices amidst rapidly advancing digital technologies .Safe online communications also cultivates digital citizenship skills ;promoting responsible behavior and respect online interactions .
We can help our children to stay safe online and protect their personal information by teaching them cyber security awareness .It’s never too early to start teaching these important lessons ,and the earlier we start, the better prepared they will be to navigate the digital world.