We are Cyber S-M-A-R-T
Helen Setsikas

 

And better prepared for the explosion of cybercrime during the pandemic

Online learning was taken to all new levels during the past several months as schools and businesses around the world largely shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

While schools and communities found new ways to connect – often digitally – cyber thieves have been finding more opportunities to commit fraud with more people who are learning and working remotely than ever before.

Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic. The result is a shocking increase in fake Covid-19 sites, phishing scams, and digital theft. Now, more than ever, it is so incredibly important for all of us to be vigilant with cyber security whenever we are online.

Throughout the year, students at Southridge (and teachers and staff) have been receiving cyber safety awareness through our Let’s be Cyber S-M-A-R-T campaign. It has been supporting students to be digitally SafeMindfulAlertResponsible—and to do this Together.

We have used posters, digital signage displays, assemblies, lessons, mock phishing tests, short training videos, and surveys as forums to share, gather, and discuss cyber safety tips. Our students are encouraged to think critically about online behaviors and identities and how these relate to the safety and well-being of oneself and to others.

A student survey conducted in October 2019 showed that 41% of students in Grades 5-12 knew what a phishing attack was, and a recent survey conducted in May 2020 now resulted in 78% of students knowing what a phishing attack was and how to spot the signs. 

Another survey question asked students if they could identify which is the stronger password. The results showed that 99.1% of them easily knew the difference.

This proves that with diligent awareness education, we have better equipped our students to know, protect themselves, and be cautious of cybercrime. They are now more aware and mindful about how they feel about their own digital presence and the importance of cyber safety.

This year, we have encouraged them to:

  • Use strong and complicated passwords.
  • Think before they click.
  • Review privacy settings on apps.
  • Be alert for phishing attempts and know who to tell.
  • Ask what will be accessed, shared, and known before you share.

Together, let’s be Cyber S-M-A-R-T, and ensure we continue to make cyber safety a priority!

Submitted by Helen Setsikas, Information Technology