DOJ warns public on emerging security risks during online classes

DOJ warns public on emerging security risks during online classes

MANILA – As public schools begin blended learning including online classes on October 5, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) has issued public advisory in response to the emerging security risks associated with the online classes amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

“While video conferencing services open doors to new opportunities that make access to education easy, application of information and communication technology in the conduct of online classes can cause many security risks,” DOJ Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC) officer-in-charge Charito Zamora said in the advisory.

Zamora identified the security risks as loss of confidentiality, availability, and integrity of computer data, “as well as exposure of students to abusive strangers and harmful online content.”

To protect students from possible security risks, the DOJ-OOC official advised the school administrators to never share meeting room credentials, both the ID and password, to the public.

“Every effort shall be exerted to promote the welfare of children and enhance their opportunities for a useful and happy life,” he added.

School administrators running online classes are urged to accept participants’ request to join a meeting individually, provide a standard naming instruction for participants, start meetings with participants’ video off, require a password from participants, mute participants upon entry, and disable desktop/screen share for participants who are not assigned in the virtual meeting room as hosts.

The DOJ-OOC also urged schools running online learning not allow participants to join before the host, or rename themselves, send messages to one another, replace their background with any selected image or share their screens.

Schools are also advised not to leave students alone in a virtual classroom, and always update the application to its latest version.

The DOJ said parents should teach their children of proper “netiquette” online to protect them from security risks associated with the utilization of various video conferencing services.

The public is advised to report incidents to the Philippine National Police (acg@acg.pnp.gov.ph or their Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/anticybercrimegroup) or the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division (ccd@nbi.gov.ph) or the DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime (cybercrime@doj.gov.ph; http://www.facebook.com/OfficeofCybercrimePH). (PNA)

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