Protection from risk of cyber security attack

Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and can affect anyone, not just large organisations and business. The education sector is not immune from these cyber threats and there are New Zealand schools that have already been severely impacted.

Last month, CertNZ conducted their annual nation-wide Cyber Smart Week campaign to highlight the importance of cyber security for all New Zealanders. 

To keep your information safe and protect children from harm, cyber security should be seen as more than ‘just an IT issue’ and treated as a risk for the whole organisation. As such, best practice would see it regularly discussed as part of your service’s agenda.

There are two main areas to focus on:

  1. Protecting your children from harm, to this end you should ensure that:
    1. your network has content filtering, or an equivalent capability, in place1
    2. children are made aware of how to keep themselves safe online234
  2. Protecting your information and information systems, from being compromised.

Here are some initial actions you can take to strengthen your early learning service’s information security and reduce your risk of cyber-attacks:

  • Use complex, hard to guess passwords (a combination of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols and/or phrases with a minimum of eight characters is best practice)
  • Do not use the same password on both work and personal systems
  • Backup important data regularly and store it securely
  • Update your software and devices as soon as patches become available
  • Install antivirus software on your organisation’s devices.

If you are part of a larger organisation with more complex IT systems, there may be a wider range of information and cyber security risks for you to consider.

Further information and assistance for your service

The links below are mostly school focused, however they are still relevant to early learning services and provide great advice.

  1. See what your network provider can do to help you manage network safety and security.
  2. Check out the information provided on our website about incorporating technology into play, which also has some links to some great resources, such as Hectors World. 
    Play idea: Information communication technology (ICT) – Ngā rau tangotango
  3.  Netsafe Kit for young people(external link) is a free set of resources which supports young people and educators to create a safe online environment.
  4. Our website has a digital technology safe use guide for schools.(external link)
  5. For further help on strengthening your service’s cyber security, including advice for reporting cyber security incidents, visit the Keeping your school network safe(external link) guide on the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) NZ website.
  6. If you have an incident or need support, please contact:

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