17 March 2022

How to Prevent Cyber Security Attacks in Online Learning

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In the current times, when we are experiencing a massive shift in learning from conventional mode to the online, it has become the need of the hour to pay attention to the cybersecurity threats in the online sphere. There are several advantages that the online mode of learning offers, including ease, convenience, and time-saving. According to the census, it was estimated that around 1.5 billion students shifted from the conventional mode of learning to online in the pandemic times. It is observed that cyber mischief is also at an all-time high. As a result, students are experiencing disruption in learning which needs to be addressed at all costs.

Prevent cyber security attacks on online learning

Online educators and students must know the strategies, tactics and security measures to mitigate online attacks as primarily executed by cybercriminals nowadays. With online learning, it has become effortless for the students to have absolutely no learning gap in the middle of the pandemic. This piece will similarly help you with the ways and methods to deal with the threats in the online world of learning. Let's dive in and quickly thoroughly understand the same.

Major Cyber security threats in online learning

1. Stealing the data

It is obvious that educational institutions and online tutors have data that holds high value for the students. Thus, this data can be sensitive. The cybercriminals consider this data highly useful and target this date of high value. They can steal this data and further sell it for their benefit.

These attackers can even ask for ransom in exchange for the same, and thus this kind of exercise can be referred to as ransomware. Ransomware is prevalent as the figures touch up to 304 million across the globe in the year 2020. In this kind of attack, the online tutor or the educator cannot access their data, and the perpetrators ask for a particular amount to release the same. It is advised to take necessary steps to safeguard you from data theft.

2. DDOS scams

Another prevalent category of attacks in the online learning world is the distributed denial-of-service attacks. Experts are continuously spreading information regarding similar kinds of attacks. It is effortless for the cyber attacker to get into the system of the online tutor or educator through this kind of attack. 

Attackers play around with the usual traffic by disrupting the entire system with massive traffic that can disrupt the balance. As a result of the same, the students will face a lot of difficulty in the process of learning as the material will not be available to them due to the attack. 

3. Human mistakes

Apart from the above-mentioned significant threats, human mistakes can also complicate online learning. This category has a wide range involving keeping passwords that are not solid and similar passwords for several platforms, providing data to phishing emails, not having security certificates, etc. It is found that human mistakes account for more than 95% of the complications in cyber security. As per the statistics, it is always suggested to have a functional backup both online and offline in an emergency, but educators and students often ignore this step. This can cause a lot of trouble if not taken seriously. 

4. Phishing attacks

Another common kind of attack in the online learning process is phishing scams. An email is sent to the student or the target to treat them and steal their sensitive credentials to carry out the same. It is relatively easy for cybercriminals to execute this kind of attack. Most of the students do not have information about such attacks and scams; as a result, they fall for these and give out their valuable information further utilized by the attackers.

Measures to mitigate

With this fantastic move to make education available online, it is also a challenge for online educators and students to maintain security. Here, we have measures to mitigate the same:

1. Limited access

One of the most critical steps that can be taken in the direction of security is to manage the privilege of data access. Access should only be provided to trusted sources to maintain maximum security. Taken seriously, it can result in a decline in the attacks faced by the teachers and learners. The access of the old employee or the member must be taken with immediate effect.

2. Role of SSL certificate

SSL certificates can be protocol in this regard as they follow the HTTPS protocol that helps distinguish a genuine website from a fake one. With a valid SSL certificate, the browser reflects a secure padlock icon that ensures a secure website connection. There are several certificates present nowadays that can help you guard your online learning portal. SSL has several positive implications. We recommend you conduct thorough research before purchasing one as there are several low cost options available at pocket-friendly prices that can bring you effective results like Comodo SSL, RapidSSL certificate, discounted or we can say cheap GeoTrust SSL, GlobalSign cert, etc. . SSL certificates are issued only after a thorough vetting by the respective Certificate Authorities (CAs) based on the validation level chosen.

3. Checking third-party providers

After all the above said, it is essential to the security of the entire online learning process to maintain the security of their own and check the third-party providers. Most of the functioning depends on the third parties in the learning process, and thus the overall security needs to have all the components safe.

One must ensure that the third party maintains the same level of security and not take the security for granted. A list must be maintained as to which one poses the most risk to the overall data, and measures should also be listed to resolve it.

4. Education and awareness for all

It is a cardinal measure for the students and the staff to have information about the mitigation measures for ensuring top cyber security. A student can't handle and come out successfully from a cyber attack, but they can be educated in action with some basic measures to help them reduce the risk.

In this regard, the students must be educated in scam emails or links, keeping the security up to date, guidance towards advanced options of security in the cyber world. Overall, the organization must promote a security culture to eliminate cyber threats maximally. Even multimillion organizations are now investing in the education of their members to amplify digital security. Workshops and training sessions must be conducted frequently to educate one regarding the threats.

5. Creation of backup

No matter how many security measures we take, cyber-attacks are inevitable. This step helps in recovery if the data is lost or any other related complication; a functional backup must be created offline. Automatic backup can be a perfect option that should be promoted among the online tutors and the students to keep the data safe. Prioritize the data with instant efforts and create a safe backup immediately. Cloud storage can be used to have a safe backup plan effectively.

6. Accentuate mobile security

It is seen that a large proportion of students and online tutors are using mobile devices for the online learning process. The estimated risk is only amplified with the use of the same, especially when the security part is left unattended as the mobile devices contain sensitive data, which is the primary target of the cyber attackers. Being a high-priority device, it is suggested to safeguard it instantly with every possible move. Members are now investing in mobile device solutions to seek additional security to protect themselves in the digital world.

7. Adequate filters for added safety

It is desirable to have a content filter that restricts the type of content websites that the students can browse as a part of the community. Such websites that are not safe or can pose any security-related impact at a later stage should be instantly removed from the list. This can improve productivity, boost learning among students, remove unwanted sites and promote security. This is a significant step towards an overall safer community.


It is because of the digital revolution that has made online learning possible. With all the perks that online learning offers, it is the concern regarding security in every mind. Cyber attackers are developing innovative techniques to steal the sensitive information and networks involved in the same. It is essential to assess and mitigate the risk and take preventive measures to minimize them. The recent advancements can also be utilized to have the edge over the cybercriminals in keeping yourself safe.

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