To say that the world has changed dramatically as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis is an understatement. But the reality is that many of the far-reaching effects of COVID-19 are still being understood. In particular, this relates to cybersecurity and how we educate our nation’s children – particularly as the hybrid or virtual model for schooling in the fall is becoming a reality for many families.
Consider that months ago, when the pandemic was first breaking across American shores, the immediate concerns, understandably, were around the economy, healthcare infrastructure and familial health. In fact, the Unisys Security Index™, the longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally, showed that only 31% of Americans expressed serious concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their children’s education, suggesting many may have had a false sense of security while working, shopping and schooling from home.
Now, as students look to be spending a lot more school time on their computers throughout the fall, so too does the risk that they run into cyber threats. And this poses a serious risk, not only to the child’s schoolwork, but to every family member in the household working, shopping and learning through a shared Wi-Fi network. Consider that according to the FBI, some 20,000 COVID-19-related cybersecurity threats have been reported to the Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) so far this year, which is more than the IC3 saw for all threats in 2019.
For families to stay safe as they navigate this new environment, whether educating children from home or just continuing to shop, share and interact online, there are a few things people can do to stay safe online.
All of this is to say that the world now finds itself at a critical juncture. As work and schooling from home becomes a new normal for the foreseeable future and as more things are connected to networks around the world, it’s not just our financial systems that are at risk from bad actors.
The realities of our new digital world, compounded by the reality of the global pandemic, requires that we all rethink how we approach security. And in no area is this more important than when it comes to educating our children and helping prepare them for the future where they can learn, shop and play online – securely.