Cybersecurity Aspects of Virtual Learning

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We live in an era of society where it is no longer a necessity to be sitting in a classroom to learn. While many institutions still rely on traditional teaching methods such as lectures and one-on-one education, the world is seeing a big shift to the virtual classroom. This is especially true with the current world health pandemic due to COVID-19.

With so many people jumping into the world of virtual learning at one time, there has never been a better time to understand keeping secure and online privacy was never been so exposed. That’s why to your learning everyone should also add a subject of cybersecurity.

The online world is full of cybercriminals and other threats, and just because you are in an educational setting doesn’t make you immune to attacks. The need for security online is at an essential stage, and you should be prepared. Get started by reading this article, and then look up some more sources for beginners, such as NordVPN’s education hub.

Major Shifts in Learning



No one was expecting to see this many people have the need for online education at one time. The outbreak of the virus has completely shut down most of the world, and social distancing is the new normal. With this immediate shift to an all-online education, some people are going to be very overwhelmed. 

Students around the world are going to get a crash course in computers and online learning, regardless of age or education level. Some people may need to learn basic tasks, such as how to password protect a zip file, before they can utilize these systems properly. It is going to require a lot of effort and resources to make this work.

Very Real Threats

Security has to be a main priority in the online realm, as there are just too many risks to privacy these days. Students and educators alike must keep themselves protected from threats coming from every different direction. You must always make sure you have the most up-to-date antivirus and antimalware software.

Information Tracking and Theft

These days information is one of the most sought after currencies on the internet. Depending on the data that is stolen or tracked, an individual or company could do a whole host of different things. It may be as basic as consumer research, or it could be a criminal looking to commit identity fraud.

The average person has more personal information available than ever, and so too do educational institutions. With online education, there are very real risks of hackers getting into the network if it is not properly secured. They could do anything from changing course material and grades, to stealing personal information for nefarious purposes.

Ransomware

At this point in time, most people will have heard about ransomware. It is a form of malware that will lock and encrypt an entire network while demanding a ransom to regain access. Online learning could be a major target for these types of attacks, as there will be millions of students for organizations to be accountable for.

Online educators need to ensure that their networks are secured from all kinds of different attacks, including ransomware. There is no way to tell when a criminal will launch this type of assault, so educators need to prepare in advance. Cybercriminals prey on the weak and vulnerable, and this is a very vulnerable time.

Zoom Security Issues

There has been a lot of talk in the news these days about the transition of people to Zoom for online work and education. The platform exploded to around 200 million users, up from 10 million, since the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, it has also had some major security flaws exposed.

Experts have major privacy concerns about Zoom, and with the US Senate and Google among people banning it, you know it is serious. Zoombombing is the most infamous part of this security breach, as flaws allow random people to connect to video conferences. This type of privacy concern cannot be ignored, and the platform may not be secure enough.

Zoom insists that they are continuously pushing out new security updates and bug fixes, but the damage may already be done. While the platform is very efficient and easy to use for students and educators, the security risk is just too high. Unless there are some major improvements, it cannot be completely trusted.

Always Use a VPN

Anyone who is concerned about their online privacy should be using a virtual private network. For a minimal monthly fee, you can protect yourself, your data, and even your location from prying eyes. There are many great options available, and it is well worth the small cost.

Online Learning is the Future

Whether our world was dealing with this pandemic or not, there is going to be the inevitable shift to complete online learning. What we are learning about security risks now, are going to help us better prepare for the future. Remember that cybercriminals do not discriminate, and regardless of what you are doing online, you must always keep protected.

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Marie Foster
Marie Foster is a reporter based in UK. Marie has also worked as a columnist for the various news sites.

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