cybersecurity education

Why prioritize cybersecurity education in schools for a better future?

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In this 21st century technology is taking over everything and the world is evolving itself to keep up with the technology, our educational system is struggling to keep its students up-to-date with the seeming new reality.

As cyber attackers continue to exploit loopholes and introduce new threats and vulnerabilities, teachers, parents and students must also arm themselves with the knowledge to protect their devices and personal information.

To combat this lack of cyber threat awareness, educators and other school staff need to keep up to date on the latest security threats to know how to intelligently respond to data breaches, ransomware, and phishing attacks.

For hackers, schools are an ideal target because they are a mine of personal information that is rarely protected by the same level of cybersecurity that many private companies use. This may not be such a high risk for public schools, but with large tuition fees charged by private institutions and universities / colleges, they are a prime target for cybercriminals.

Responsibility of Educational institutions

The education sector saw a record year of cyberattacks in 2020, owing to an increase in distance learning and virtual classrooms. The quick move to hybrid learning in 2020 uncovered a number of computer science security flaws for which institutions and school districts were unprepared. Prior to the pandemic, most school systems did not have distant learning, and cybersecurity instruction was not a top priority – even schools with enough funds for the technology were not prioritised.

Educational institutions have a responsibility to protect their students, many of whom are minors, but a weakened cybersecurity infrastructure could jeopardise their safety. Better cybersecurity education for both teachers and students across Schools is thought to reduce many of these cyber incidents. In addition to IT staff, administrators, teachers, and other school staff need to understand how serious the cybersecurity risks are.

Lack of Cyber awareness is extremely risky .

According to the report of the K-12 Cyber ​​Security Resource Center, during 2018, most cyber incidents in public schools were caused by unauthorized disclosure of data due to human error, unauthorized disclosure of data stored by external vendors/parties, and unauthorized disclosure of data stored by external vendors/parties. Authorized access to the data itself.

Unauthorized access to data by students or unknown external participants. In fact, the breach of student and faculty data is one of the most common cyber incidents in 2019. A report from the K-12 Cyber ​​Security Resource Center shows that more than 400 cyber security-related incidents occurred in schools in 2020, including student and employee data leakage, ransomware and phishing attacks, and the prevalence of malware.
Popular survey shows that network security is the number one technical priority for educating IT leaders, followed by student privacy and security. A new nationally representative survey conducted by and led by the EdWeek Research Center surveyed more than 900 teachers, principals, and district leaders about the universality, format, and perceptions of cybersecurity education. Less than half of the respondents indicated that their communities or schools provide cybersecurity training.

What should the schools do?

When it comes to personal learning, schools typically offer students strong protections that prevent them from accessing malicious content, as well as protecting them from a wide range of threats such as malware or unmoderated social media. Schools can focus their curriculum content on awareness of the threats faced by their teachers and staff. They can do this by creating an effective safety awareness training program.

Cybersecurity should not be limited to a classroom, virtual or not. For students schools must provide cybersecurity labs and simulators based on real-world scenarios, so they can understand the threats better. These skills will empower them to detect and prevent cyberattacks before they happen, and better profile potential attackers. Proactive security training will familiarize participants with the methods that cybercriminals are using today and familiarize them with best practices for protecting their information and systems.

Schools should aim to provide teachers, parents, and students with the information they need to identify common cyber threats, as well as recommendations on best practices for cyber security to help you through the new school year safely.

Government education departments must decide to increase the number of vocational and technical educators who can effectively prepare students for cybersecurity education and careers. These standards will be the key to increasing the number of regions providing cybersecurity programs across the country.

Cybersecurity is important to education at all levels, not just tertiary education. Cybersecurity education and training should be the order of the day in schools, but most people only take it seriously after entering the business world. As an educator, staying updated and learning best practices to protect yourself and your students is always the best first step towards cybersecurity.

Author Bio:

Neha Singh is the Founder & CEO of Securium Solutions with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. She is skilled in ECSA, Vulnerability Management, Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), Management, and Business Development. She loves traveling and trekking.

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