The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of students in the Philippines to rely largely on internet connection as they shift to a new normal of learning.
Now more than ever, practicing cyber hygiene should be emphasized. Cybersecurity company Kaspersky recommends using these top three security tools to keep you, your data, and your computer safe.
For each person using the same device in one household, Kaspersky recommends that each user account should have its own separate password. Distrust is not an issue here but family members may be tricked to give the password away or just accidentally leak it.
Experts at Kaspersky recommend that kids never create usernames out of their real names that may reveal their other personally identifiable information (PII) such as location or age.
Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) is like having a door with two locks in the account log-in process—one is a traditional password and the second one could be something else. When enabled, it means that an attacker has to figure out your password and be in possession of your device to be able to log in into your account. Second authentications are usually codes sent via email or SMS. And there are also authenticator apps and hardware tokens which provide more features and useful options.
For students doing online classes, this additional layer of security will have to be enabled on their primary and secondary emails as well as on their social media accounts which are being required by teachers for them to be able to join online classes.
Meanwhile, parents or guardians would find that two-factor authentication will be useful for online bank accounts as well as device accounts.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Another security tool that is often overlooked is the Virtual Private Network or VPN. It works by encrypting your online presence. A VPN masks your IP address by rerouting it through a specially configured remote server run by the VPN host, where the VPN server becomes the source of your data. This makes it impossible for your internet service provider or any other third party to see what websites you are visiting or what information you are entering.
A VPN also works like a filter that turns all the data you are sending and receiving into gibberish. Even if someone did get their hands on this data, it would be useless.
Using a VPN is worth considering if you regularly connect to public Wi-Fi networks. You never know who could be watching your internet traffic from the other side.
Security software providers like Kaspersky provide comprehensive solutions with VPN features such as Kaspersky Total Security (P1,390; available at leading IT stores).
Free VPNs do exist, but they are usually not as secure as paid options are. You must also be sure to choose a VPN provider you trust and which has invested in the most secure solutions. Remember, if your VPN provider is compromised, you and your data will be too.