With millions of Americans attending school and working remotely, cyber criminals are looking for any opportunity to attack.
Record digital traffic during the coronavirus pandemic is raising fears about increased network vulnerability.
"One of the things that you could do to ensure your safety online currently, is to take action to ensure you have good cyber hygiene. And what I mean by this is that you do not respond to any online request for personally identifiable information. If you are not sure where the email is coming from, you do not click on any links of attachment. What you also should be thinking about as not sharing as much information as possible. If you can, protect your internet connection."
Benjamin Yankson is an assistant professor at the University at Albany's College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity. Yankson says it’s a good time to taker a hard look at securing your handheld and computer devices.
"Make sure that your device is password protected. And you have two factor authentication enabled on your device, which means that you have a password, you have double password on your device. Another action that you could take, is to take action if your personal identifiable information is compromised; this is information that will help identify you, so you will immediately change your password. If you believe that your personally identifiable information has been compromised, you contact the respectable organizations such as your bank to make sure that the password has been reset and also your report it to the police as soon as you can."
Yankson says for households with students involved in remote learning, parents should be aware of every single site kids are visiting, ensuring that children understand that sharing family and personal identifiable information is taboo.
He adds those working from home must be careful not to fall victim to the usual scams and scammers, while treading carefully when employing social contact apps like Zoom video conferencing.
"One of the things that you can do is when you're setting up a Zoom meeting to make sure that your Zoom meeting is password protected. And you also enable what we call 'meeting waiting' meeting rooms, which means that anybody that joins the meeting has to be allowed in by you as the meeting host. You want to as much as you can to make sure that your Zoom client is updated, which means that if there's any security update that Zoom pushes out, you will make sure that you update the client as much as you can. Furthermore, one of the things that you could do with your Zoom client is to make sure that you don't share your media links with the general public. You don't put it on social media. You don't publicize the Zoom meeting in and Zoom meeting ID. "
Yankson says if you stay alert and aware, watch what you post on social media, use antivirus and anti-malware software, and refrain from clicking on unsolicited links, you'll improve your chances of being protected.