More than a year after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the widespread adoption of distance education and made virtual classrooms the norm, the issue of cybersecurity has become a non-ignorable priority, especially for students who spend most of their time online. (See a related article, “Coronavirus Outbreak Forces Arab Countries to Consider Long-Ignored Online Education.”)
“Explaining the importance of online privacy for students and teachers alike and providing them with basic guidelines to follow on a daily basis while they are online is essential today, especially with the spread of distance education,” Ayman Salah, a communications and media technology expert, said in a phone call.
Different Risks and Basic Tips
In their online education experience, students and professors can face various risks, like cyberbullying, harassment, the danger of unintentionally publishing private information, and phishing, which is defined by cybersecurity professionals as the use of emails or messages to trick people into revealing personal information that can compromise their online financial accounts, or clicking on malicious links or attachments and unintentionally downloading malware.
Experts specialized in distance education and cybersecurity advise institutions, professors and students to follow some basic guidelines to ensure privacy, protect and monitor personal data, and prevent hacking online educational platforms, as well as some best practices for safety in online communications.
Salah, who is a lecturer at a number of Egyptian universities, believes that universities should support cybersecurity and privacy on their platforms and means of communication with their students by implementing plans to always update their programs, and purchase advanced versions of communication software rather than the free versions, as the advanced versions allow longer meetings and provide a larger space to upload data.