With the cases of coronavirus on the rise, there has been a shift to virtual learning which may last longer than anticipated. This sudden worldwide transition has left no time for schools to figure out the best course of action and how to make sure sensitive student information and classes are secure.
Students from primary school all the way to college and graduate school are putting information onto online platforms.
Many of the software programs being used might put student personal information at risk.
With teachers teaching from home, they are forced to use personal devices to handle student information. These devices, which may have weak spots for hackers to insert malware and other viruses, could result in schools having data breaches in their servers putting not only students at risk but faculty and staff too.
In this blog post, we will go over security problems with online learning and how they are impacting the online education of students.
Cyber-attacks becoming increasingly relevant
With more and more businesses moving to online platforms, there has been a 33% increase in ransomware and other cyber-attacks in Q1 of 2020.
Since schools had to shift to e-learning, there have been cases of people joining classes uninvited and showing inappropriate videos and images. These were very problematic concerns especially considering that many of these students are minors.
In spring of this year, Zoom received a lot of complaints about how secure its platform really was. More than 500,000 hacked Zoom accounts had been sold on the dark web. In response to these security issues, Zoom updated its platform to resolve security vulnerabilities.
My opinion as a student
As a third year college student at Florida State University, I have firsthand experience of online learning during this pandemic. It was a drastic adjustment having to change my whole method of learning just weeks before taking final exams.
It was even more worrisome considering that lectures were going to be conducted via software that I knew nothing about, making me entrust my academics to a new system overnight.
I did not know if I were going to fall victim to a cyber attack. I just had to use whatever software my school deemed fit and trust that my information and privacy were safe.
When hearing of the recent increase in cyber attacks, I became more worried. I thought to myself, if hackers can come onto meetings and stream whatever they want, what is to stop them from intruding on personal information from students?
Schools need a better solution on how to conduct online learning, especially when it comes to students younger than the 18. It was not smart to entrust this large task to software not designed to handle these tasks.
Personally, I think a solution would be for the department of education to design and implement an online learning solution that could be customized to fit the needs of online learning for all ages.
This way teachers and students can seamlessly transition to an online learning platform at a moment’s notice. This way the department of education can have a platform where they can work out all the flaws themselves, know what to expect and, overall just have a better control on e-learning.