Back to School Cybersecurity Risk

That wonderful time of year approaches once again, the time when school starts back up for your children and you (hopefully) have some additional freedom to yourself.  With the work from home / learn from home models, this might not be as true as normal... but generally speaking many parents enjoy getting the kids back into school and having a structure returned to their children's lives.
But with that you typically have a huge number of devices or technology related requirements for your children to effectively learn while using - laptops, tablets, cell phones... watches... etc.  All of these are part of the "Internet of Things" with connectivity and interconnectedness that provide real value to you as a user of said technologies, but also huge backdoors into your life that can be utilized by a dedicated attacker.

Here's some food for thought: in 2020 there were 2.2 million fraud cases where the median amount consumers paid (i.e. lost) was $311.  And maybe you can afford $311 for not securing a device, but the reality is of those cases - the real target in those situations was logins, credentials, and user information that attackers could then use to attack a business (your business) or to sell your personal information to try and use your identity in the course of criminal activities.

A lot of this is due to simply not wanting to spend money on security for our personal devices... but the cost is incredibly high.  The idea that "I'm not important enough to be a target" ignores the basic tenants of the current cybercriminal's approach - to hit any available target.  Drive-by malware and infections are so common these days that on top of being the subject of specifically targeted attacks, many companies can suffer infections from "malware by opportunity" attacks as well.  If you leave your wifi open on your cell phone in a Starbucks at wrong time... BAM malware infection.

And all of these issues are things that are becoming more common as time goes on.  Spending the money to secure devices or your identity before you're infected saves a lot of hassle with trying to recover a stolen identity.  Believe me, it is a very difficult process at times to prove that you are in fact you - and no, you are not interested in purchasing $10,000 dollars worth of furniture from Macy's.

So, here's some points to consider as the kids get back to go to school:

  • Make sure they have security on their devices - If they have a laptop they have to bring into class, install security technologies on it.  Using technologies like Cylance or Sophos can save you a lot of time from having to clean up an infected system - let alone having to get your child to re-write school work that they may have lost in the process.
  • Set up personal backups  / data protectionMake sure you invest in some form of automated back-up solution so doing a clean refresh of an infected system is easy to do.  Carbonite, Acronis, Datto... even Microsoft all offer various forms of consumer level back-up technologies at affordable prices.  Many can cover multiple devices in your household.  It is worth having it on a system you know is going out in the muck of the world on a regular basis.
  • Two Factor Authentication when possible - Passwords don't cut it anymore.  If you can, set up two-factor authentication on every device you can.  It'll save you energy and time from casual attempts to break into your device.

All in all, just consider normal security practices as an extension of what you do at home.  It is important to have a cybersecurity focused perspective when it applies to technology these days.  It WILL save you time and energy.

And if you're interested in more tips / advice on these matters - reach out to London Security at