Parent Interface Program- Cyber Security

“Nothing ever goes away once it is posted online.”

Since childhood our parents and elders have been guiding and suggesting that we take care of our eating habits, practice hygiene, be wary of strangers, communicate effectively and so on to ensure that we develop into confident, strong and positive individuals who are able to cope up with the competition and complexities of the real world. With the advent of the Internet, all of us have also become a part of a cyber-world wherein we share and access resources, connect and interact with many people. Just like the real world we need to be cautious and alert while working in this cyber world as well.

Children today spend a lot of time on mobile and computers, connected to the internet. Educational institutions have switched over to online learning as schools are closed and they have to protect children and teachers from the ongoing pandemic (COVID-19). As a result, the internet and technology have become an inseparable part of life. The switch over to virtual mode of learning has been sudden and students lack or have little awareness of online security and potential risks involving cyber-attacks. 

Thus, a session on cyber security was taken by one of the parents  on 30th December, 2021  who has been working in Oracle for the last many years. The aim of the session was to familiarize the students about the potential risk associated with cyber activities. The main highlights of his session were:-

Privacy in social media– Though social networking is very interesting as it gives us a chance to get connected with people around the world. We should make sure that we follow all safety precautions while using social networking as it is extremely difficult to judge and recognize a person here.  

While creating an account on social networking sites, we need to take care of the following: 

  • Avoid revealing too much of your personal information like your age, address, contact details, school name, etc., as this can lead to identity theft.
  • Do our privacy settings very carefully on social networking sites
  • Anyone on social networking, needs to communicate and collaborate only with people known to them.

Securing their devices-Our smartphone tablet or laptop – contains significant information about us and our friends and family, including contact numbers, photos and locations. Our mobile devices need to be protected. We should take the following security precautions and enjoy the conveniences of technology with peace of mind while we are on the go.

    • Use strong passphrases, passcodes or other features such as touch identification to lock your devices. Securing your device can help protect your information if your device is lost or stolen and keep prying eyes out.
    • Information about you, such as the games you like to play, what you search for online and where you shop and live, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.

Cyber bullying-When cyberbullying happens, it is important to document and report the behavior so it can be addressed.

Steps to Take Immediately

  • Don’t respond to and don’t forward cyberbullying messages.
  • Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times, and descriptions of instances when cyberbullying has occurred. Save and print screenshots, emails, and text messages. Use this evidence to report cyberbullying to web and cell phone service providers.
  • Block the person who is cyberbullying.
  • Gaming- Games can offer children a sense of escape from the reality of the world and the social aspect of some games can help children feel part of a community. However, without the right guidance on what games to play or when to play, children can be exposed to certain risks such as in-game bullying, online grooming or in some extreme cases gaming addiction. To avoid unintentionally downloading apps or free games that may be bundled with malware or spyware it’s important to:
  • Check and research apps and games that children plan to download
  • Stick to legitimate websites when downloading any game
  • Explain risks of downloading ‘free’ games and what to do if something goes wrong
  • Set online boundaries and agree which websites and apps are best for them to use
  • Password hygiene- Increased security concerns online have made password management and one of the best password managers to become an essential tool, especially as more of us are embracing a remote working life that splits time between the home and office.
  • Do not use the same username and password for all websites.
  • Use a password with 15 to 20 characters including letters and numbers.
  • Do not share your password with other people.

Phishing/whaling-   The difference between whaling and spear phishing is that whaling exclusively targets high-ranking individuals within an organization, while spear phishing usually goes after a category of individuals with a lower profile.

Steps To Protect Ourselves from Phishing  

  1. Protect our computer by using security software.
  2. Protect our mobile phone by setting software to update automatically.
  3. Protect our accounts by using multi-factor authentication.
  4. Protect our data by backing it up.

RESOURCES USED DURING THE SESSION:

Online polls– They were widely used to create interest in the topic and check the existing knowledge of the learners.  

Q/A session – The students were engaged thought the session and made it lively by asking some mindful questions like:-

What is the difference between report and block?

Are cookies safe?

How do spam callers get our numbers? Are online lotteries authentic?

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