Remote Learning Cybersecurity Best Practices

As September approaches and families gear up for another school year, there is much uncertainty in the air and this year’s return to school will look nothing like the past.  With school openings and schedules predicated on variable factors, such as the percent of positive COVID tests in the community, there’s no telling how long students will have access to school buildings.

One thing that is certain is that many students across the country will spend most of the day learning remotely.  

Implement our best practices to keep your kids safe and productive as they learn from home.

Place Computers in A Common Area of The House.

Don’t allow kids to have a computer in their bedroom. Make sure the computer screen is visible from other parts of the room and isn’t turned toward a wall. This will help reduce distraction, such as the temptation to check social media during online class.

Set Reasonable Time and Usage Limits

Set rules about what your child can and can't do while online. Set time limits on their computer use, especially during learning hours.  Invest in a device like Circle, from Disney, that pairs with your home network (wireless or wired) and allows you to manage every connected device. Using an app on your mobile device you can use it to control internet access for every device on the network.

Even if you moved computers to a central location and developed a plan for realistic limits, there is still more you can do to keep your kids safe online.

Set Up Parental Controls in Windows 10 Windows 10 is the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system and it makes it easier to apply parental controls to each individual computer in your family. Microsoft Family allows you to set up child accounts that are monitored and controlled from a parent account. There’s even an app for your phone that lets you remain aware and set:

  • Screen Time Limits

  • Filter Content

  • Access Activity Reports

  • Locate You Family Members

Microsoft Family requires children to have a Microsoft account and be logged in on their devices.

Set Up Parental Controls in Mac OS Setting Parental Controls in Mac OS is performed via the System Preferences. >> Click the Apple logo in the upper left-hand corner of the Mac Desktop >> Click “System Preferences” in the pull-down menu that appears. >> Click the “Parental Controls” icon in the System Preferences window >> Select the account to manage. If you see the message “There are no user accounts to manage,” you’ll need to add a managed user. Select a user to apply Parental Controls, and you’ll see a series of tabs at the top of the Parental Controls windows. They are, from left to right: “Apps,” “Web,” “Stores,” “Time,” “Privacy” and the always-intriguing “Other.” Remove Unnecessary Remote-Control Software from Child Devices The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is found in every modern version of Windows and is designed to allow remote control of a computer, such as accessing the office computer from home or allowing a trusted person to assist with tech support. A trusted IT partner requires only one remote access tool and will typically choose on that is secure and requires your permission to access your system. If you don’t work with a trusted IT partner remove the remote-control applications from devices your children use to avoid unwanted and dangerous connections.

Teach Your Kids The Importance Of Strong Passwords

Passwords are one of the weakest links in the whole internet security chain, but in today’s world there's no way around them. The challenge with passwords is the need to remember so many and for that reason, most people create something simple, easy to remember or use the same password for every account, such as their address, birthday, pet’s name or a combination. All to the delight of hackers who examine social media to make accurate guesses at the passwords people create.

Replacing passwords with “pass-phrases” is a great way reduce the chance of getting hacked because of a weak password. Using a password manager, such as LastPass or Dashlane, is also a great way to have complex passwords created for you without the need to ever remember them.

A good passphrase should include:

  • At least five words mixed with numbers and special characters

  • At least 19 characters

A passphrase should never include:

  • Famous or well-known song lyrics or sayings, movie lines or book titles

  • Do not use anything easily found online, such as quotations

Setup Multi-factor Authentication When Possible In addition to a strong, complex password or passphrase, multi-factor or two-factor authentication is an additional layer of protection that ensures your safety even if someone guesses your password. After two-factor authentication is setup, you sign into your account in two steps using something you know, like your password and something you have, like your phone. Without authentication on both, login is not permitted. Many leading online stores, such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft offer two-factor authentication. Our team is constantly testing to identify the latest security challenges, changes and best practices to keep you safe and informed. Contact us.

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