Keeping Digital Learning Safe

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has impacted everyone’s daily lives. With the sudden shift to working from home, online schools and more time spent browsing the internet it’s more crucial than ever to encourage staying safe online.


System Group more recently have started the adjustment to digital with our very own Virtual Learning Environment to share resources and tutoring, but due to current circumstances we have had to adapt and have transitioned all of our learning online.


Following this unprecedented shift, we wanted to ensure our learners and tutors build their online resilience and protect themselves against negative online activity:


Coronavirus-Related Fraud


There has been a huge increase in the number of phishing and spoofing emails related to COVID‐19 which have played upon the fears of email users.


Phishing, is a type of online scam where criminals impersonate legitimate organisations via email, text message, advertisement or other means in order to steal sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details.


Spoofing, where you receive an email supposedly from a colleague, has been on the rise as fraudsters exploit the situation where colleagues no longer share an office. Spoofing usually accounts for a fifth of all emails but has risen to as many as 60%. Attacks have targeted the tools used by homeworkers such as fake requests to reset Zoom video conferencing accounts, or requests to reset virtual private network (VPN) accounts.


The best way to handle spoofed and phished emails is by exercising caution at all times. If something seems “off” about an email, do not open attached files or click on included links. Type in a site’s URL manually to avoid landing on a spoofed version of it. By taking your time and being careful, you should be able to avoid most problems.


You can report suspicious emails by forwarding to report@phishing.gov.uk


Social Network


As we are hitting a second lockdown across England we are encouraging learners and staff to stay connected with friends and family members during this time apart. However, we remind you to leave a positive digital footprint.


Privacy, make sure you investigate how to ensure that your settings are private and that only your friends can see the things that you post. Every social network’s settings are slightly different so have a look on their help pages if you are struggling to find what you need to.


Voice, anything that you put online is then out of your control. Ensure all activity online is positive and not something you may regret later. It is important to practice good digital citizenship and treat all others with dignity and respect both online and off.


Facts, before you like, comment or share something online use the SHARE checklist to make sure you’re not contributing to the spread of harmful content:

· Source - make sure information comes from a trusted source

· Headline - always read beyond the headline

· Analyse - check the facts

· Retouched - does the image or video look as though it has been doctored?

· Error - look out for bad grammar and spelling


Passwords


Passwords are perhaps the most important way that we protect our identity and private information online but how safe do you make them?


Make your passwords difficult to guess, a good tip for making your passwords more secure is to use something you are interested in but abbreviate this heavily and mix it up with capital and lowercase letters and unrelated numbers.


Never share your password and change them regularly.


Lock your device, lock your screens if you leave your device unattended – especially if you have children or housemates.


Software


Make sure that systems and software are all up to date. Operating systems are updated regularly to prevent fraudsters from exploiting any weaknesses so running that latest version is key to keeping threats at bay.


Anti-Virus Protection


Install anti-virus protection for your devices and keep up to date. If you have one, turn on the firewall for added protection.


Digital Wellbeing


Wellbeing controls, many devices and platforms now offer options that help you manage the time you spend online. If you’re finding it increasingly difficult to separate work and study from your down time, simply turning off notifications or activating “do not disturb” can make a world of difference.


Set own limits, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with information at this time. 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried.

It’s important to take a step back and think about how this is affecting you. If it is, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to coverage of the outbreak. Check in at set times or a few times a day.

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UPDATE:
 

Due to Covid-19 we have decided to close our offices and our staff are working remotely - we advise emailing all enquiries to: 

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