Digital technologies have long been in the classroom. Of course, it has changed immensely since the floppy disk days. Now it's possible and very likely that you've taken your class into the virtual world. Whether it's full-time or part-time remote earning, here are the things you should know and teach your students about passwords and digital security.

Why Passwords Are More Important Than Ever

With the shift towards remote learning, more and more education is happening online. It has unlocked the power of the internet to ease the learning process, even during adverse circumstances. But it does present certain risks to students.

Hackers are now targeting students of all ages, from elementary school to university. And students face particular dangers that the rest of us don't. They're usually less equipped to prevent cyber-attacks.

Teachers are in a unique position to educate students not only about course subjects but also about the dos and don’ts of cyber hygiene. They can help to prevent their students from becoming hacking victims.

What Students Need to Know About Passwords

How to Create Passwords

A strong password goes a long way. You can even use password strength checkers to have them try it out for themselves. Take the password "pizza." A hacker can brute-force instantly. On the other hand, "icantlive withoutpizza" would take days to crack.

When playing with similar tools, you can see the importance of length, numbers, and special characters. With a small addition like "icantlive withoutpizza1!" it would then take years to discover the password.

But this brings up the other area where passwords become vulnerable. Fraudsters can learn things about students from what they post on social networks. If a student writes about pizza all over their account, they've made it much easier for hackers to narrow down what their password might be.

For this reason, the best passwords are a 100% random combination of characters. When they are long enough, even a supercomputer wouldn't be able to break them anytime soon.

How to Remember and Store Passwords

Things get tricky, though, when you expect students to remember complex passwords. Don't forget that they also need unique passwords for all their online accounts. The average person has 90+ online accounts. Remembering one password is tough, let alone nearly 100!

That's where password managers come in. Both Android password managers, as well as desktop and browser-based options, enable storing all account details in a secure encrypted vault. Click here for more:

Then students only need to remember the password of the password manager and, most importantly, never share it with anybody. If they do this, they can access their virtual learning apps and resources. The same goes for all their personal online accounts.

A Few More Notes on Password Managers

You won’t be able to explain the benefits of a password manager if you don’t use one yourself. If you do, great. If not, here’s what you need to know.

When choosing between password managers, you want to find one that balances security and convenience. The key is selecting one that doesn't sacrifice one for the other. The best password managers use the highest encryption standards, like XChacha20. It’s the same that government organizations like the NSA use.

At the same time, it should make login a breeze. It can do so by making use of biometrics like your fingerprint or facial scan. The result is speedy and secure account access without the threat of hackers gaining access to your password through malware.

How To Set Up A Password Manager

  1. Install the password manager app of your choice.
  2. Set up a master password. The goal is to make it memorable for you but not too easy for anybody to guess.
  3. Open your vault and add your existing passwords. You don't need to do everything at once but begin with your most important accounts such as email, banking and financial, school accounts, etc.
  4. Create new passwords with the in-built password generator.
  5. Replace current account passwords with new versions and save to the password manager.
  6. Enable biometric login.
  7. Consider adding two-factor authentication to provide an extra layer of security on your accounts.

The easiest way to prevent cyber-attacks from happening to your students or you is by strengthening your password security. There's no better way to do this than by using a password manager.

Once this lesson is complete, consider covering phishing attacks and different types of malware. The more you and your students know about cybersecurity, the less likely you will suffer from cyber-attacks.


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