Cybersecurity company urges parents to monitor students’ use of technology

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Cybersecurity company urges parents to monitor students’ use of technology

By: Madison Neal

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As students across the Tennessee Valley return to the classroom, many are using district devices for school work. A local cybersecurity risk management company says parents need to be aware of the ever-present threat of hackers online.

In the 2020-2021 school year, two North Alabama school systems, Huntsville City Schools and Madison City Schools, experienced cyber attacks. As kids start logging on to district devices this year, the door to threats is wide open.

Gray Analytics says as children connect school devices to various networks there are ways to mitigate risks of cyber hacking or ransomware attacks.

“Any device you have that’s connected to the internet, which is basically everything… is at risk of cyber attack,” explains Gray Analytics Business Operations Vice President Jennifer Elwell.

Up-to-date malware and anti-virus can be the first layer of protection, but parents also need to educate their kids about ‘cyber hygiene.’

“If your child doesn’t understand basic cybersecurity principles, like not clicking on links if you don’t know where it leads, they could accidentally be the way a cybercriminal gets access to the school system. No one wants that,” says Elwell.

Students need to change their passwords often, verify people’s online identity and avoid connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

“As our children get back into extracurricular activities, they may be taking their device with them to do homework at the gym or at dance. Make sure your child only can access the internet through Wi-Fi that is password-protected,” says Elwell.

Elwell says it’s important for parents to understand that their kid’s cybersecurity can impact the whole family.

“Once they get onto a child’s device that’s on your network then they can penetrate the other devices on your network, which very well could be your work computer,” says Elwell.

Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent, with many cybercriminals using them to hold a network or personal data for ransom.

Gray Analytics says it’s never too early to start talking about cybersecurity because technology is everywhere and even the youngest are at risk for online attacks.

Source: WHNT News 19