Cyber-security company urges parents to monitor students use of technology

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – As students return to their classrooms across the Tennessee Valley, many are using the district’s equipment for schoolwork. A local cybersecurity risk management company says parents need to be aware of the pervasive threat posed by hackers online.

In the 2020-2021 school year, two school systems in North Alabama, Huntsville City Schools and Madison City Schools, experienced cyberattacks. With kids starting to log into the district’s devices this year, the door is wide open to threats

Gray Analytics says when children connect school equipment to different networks, there are ways to mitigate the risk of cyber hacking or ransomware attacks.

“Any device connected to the Internet is basically everything … There is a risk of cyberattack,” said Jennifer Elwell, vice president of business operations, Gray Analytics.

Current malware and antivirus programs can be the first level of protection, but parents must also educate their children about “cyber hygiene”.

“If your child doesn’t understand basic cybersecurity principles, such as: For example, if you don’t click links if you don’t know where this is going, cybercriminals could accidentally gain access to the school system, nobody wants that, ”says Elwell.

Students often need to change their passwords, verify people’s online identities, and avoid connecting to unsecured WiFi networks.

“When our children return to after-school activities, they may take their device with them to do homework in the gym or while dancing. Make sure your child only accesses the Internet through a password-protected wireless network, ”says Elwell.

Elwell says it’s important for parents to understand that their children’s cybersecurity can affect the whole family.

“Once they get on a child’s device on your network, they can penetrate the other devices on your network that could very well be your work computer,” says Elwell.

Cyber attacks are becoming more common and many cyber criminals use them to secure a network or personal data for ransom.

Gray Analytics says it’s never too early to talk about cybersecurity because technology is ubiquitous and even the youngest are exposed to online attack