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Expert offers up cybersecurity tips for parents as more students move to distance learning

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 7:55 AM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Thousands of Horry County students return to the classroom Monday after temporary distance learning.

While many students and parents are glad to be back, distance learning will remain in play as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Because of that, cybersecurity experts want parents to be aware of hackers as students work online.

One way to keep hackers from infiltrating your child’s laptop is to get your computer up-to-date on security.

Stanton Greenawalt, professor of cybersecurity at Horry-Georgetown Technical College, says anything you do online should go through a security protocol.

With those virtual or quarantined kids learning at home on school district equipment, Greenawalt adds that both parents and schools should be familiar with these kinds of security programs.

“Have to try and keep their systems updated. What I talk about is the VPN - very secure access lines to get into their systems and they have to have good back up. All of that requires a lot of training and practice and stimulations of what protocols you need to follow if you get hacked because everyone is going to get attacked,” said Greenawalt.

If your child does get hacked, it is important to reach out to the school to let them know right away. But that isn’t all you can do to keep safe.

“The next step is notifying the school and the second thing is demanding on what information it is. The FBI has some very good websites that you can go to and notify the FBI that you’ve been hacked, and my next process is secure my computer. Take it offline and check all my security updates and go to the download folder and see if anything has been added to that. So parents need to be proactive about checking their own local computer,” said Greenawalt.

Greenawalt adds when you see those security update notifications pop up on your devices, it is important to pay attention to them.

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