Keep security in mind when taking your devices back to school

With the use of COVID-19 vaccines becoming widespread, school districts across the country are gearing up for a return to in-person instruction this fall.

After a long stint of remote learning, students and parents alike may have become accustomed to sharing devices like laptops and tablets for both personal and instructional purposes.

Keep security in mind when taking your devices back to school

Refresh your child on laptop safety before they return to school this Fall.

Here are some things to keep in mind before you (or your children) take your devices back to school.

Log out of accounts with personal information

Be sure to log out of any accounts that may be linked to your personal information on your child’s device. This could include any:

  • E-commerce accounts.
  • Government websites i.e. student loans or taxes.
  • Online bill payment portals.

This will mitigate the risk of your child accessing your information and keeping it out of the eyes of strangers. Make sure your child knows to keep their device locked via a password and put it away when not in use.

Use strong passwords

Create strong, unique passwords when signing up for websites or simply signing into your computer. Use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols to craft the most secure password. You can also use a password manager to remember your passwords for you, meaning you only need to remember one login.

Use a VPN when on public or unfamiliar WiFi

Whether it’s you or your child going back to school, it’s easy to forget to use a virtual private network (VPN) when you’re on someone else’s WiFi network. A VPN encrypts your connection, keeping your browsing and general location hidden from others on the same network.

There are many free VPN options available, and several of them are quick and easy to set up. They even work across several devices, from phones to computers.

Make sure all of your software is up to date

Any software you’ve installed needs to be updated on a regular basis in order to fix bugs and close vulnerabilities, but updates have a more important purpose than that. They exist to patch up any vulnerable areas in the software’s security. Security threats like malware and ransomware are ever evolving, looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities and steal data and information.

Keeping your software up to date is one of the easiest ways to protect against them. Most software can be set to automatically update, so you shouldn’t have to worry about it. You want to double check that automatic updates are enabled on your child’s devices as well, especially on the software they use most frequently.

Secure your devices with antivirus software

Antivirus software offers better peace of mind when completing school-related work on an internet-connected device. They can protect your devices from threats like malware and ransomware as well as trojans. Installing antivirus and keeping software up to date is an effective pair for staying secure while online.

Block websites deemed unsafe

The best way to protect younger children from security threats is to block all websites other than the ones needed to perform tasks while at school. Often IT departments for school districts will implement network-wide content filtering. Individual devices may also implement parental controls.

Returning to school doesn’t need to be a security risk. Learn more about keeping your family safe in the Total Defense security blog.