HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — Local cyber experts say as students head back to remote learning for the upcoming school year, there are many things parents can do to keep their information safe.
Luis Gonzalez, Chief Information Security Officer with South Texas College says parents need to closely monitor their children’s online activity, as well as talking with their children’s school to better understand exactly what they need for remote learning.
Gonzalez says it’s important to talk with your children first so they understand not to share personal information. He also says it’s important to understand what software, platform and applications they will be using.
When kids are online, Gonzalez says to make sure and have them in an open area like the living room or kitchen so you can monitor their activity.
“The hackers or the people behind the scenes doing all these malicious acts are aware of the vulnerabilities that [are] out there when it comes to your kids,” says Gonzalez.
Gonzalez recommends shutting down computers when not in use, making sure to turn off mics and cameras, in case the computer is compromised.
When using borrowed devices from schools, Gonzalez says a lot of schools are adding safeguards on machines they are lending out, but if you’re using a personal device, make sure you have antivirus software, and check your privacy settings.
Gonzalez also says don’t install or download software if you’re not sure if it is a reputable source or visit a website you are not familiar with. Some viruses could steal your data, including holding your data for ransom.
When using a WiFi hotspot connection Gonzalez says to make sure you’re using a safe connection that requires a password, and he recommends using a complex password.
If you are using an open WiFi connection with no password, he says beware because your information could be stolen.
“Parents sometimes, we overlook things. We don’t take security serious, but now more than ever everything that’s being digitized, we have to be aware of our surroundings especially now that we’re going to be doing instruction from home,” says Gonzalez.
We also spoke to Gonzalez about using WiFi hotspots provided by schools in buses and at area locations. Gonzalez says it’s important to speak with your schools to make sure you’re using the right connection. He says some may try and mimic the connection to steal your data.
We also asked about WiFi hotspots provided to students to take home, adding those use cell phone towers and are generally pretty safe but recommends using a password to make sure no on else is connecting to the device.
If you do experience any issues, Gonzalez says parents need to report the issues immediately to their schools I.T. Department.