Securing Devices for Remote Learning

With the return to school, reliance on virtual learning has created many challenges for students and parents. Although many schools have provided students school-approved technology, which provide security, some students may be using personal devices. It’s important that parents are involved and aware of what children are doing online.

Security Best Practices for Virtual Learning

These tips, provided by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Washington Post , will help protect you and your family

  • Make sure anti-virus programs and security patches are up-to-date on your devices.
  • Set up a separate email addresses for education apps and sites. 
  • Turn on parental controls.
  • Check the settings for individual apps to see what sharing can be limited.
  • Review your school’s website for statements about data privacy and approved apps.
  • Create an optimum home learning environment free of distractions that gets a good Wi-Fi signal. It’s a good idea to make sure the space is well lit so faces can be easily viewed over video. Be aware of what goes on in the background and is being captured by the camera – for example, getting dressed, fighting, sensitive conversations.  
  • Encourage your school to make cybersecurity part of the curriculum.
  • Set a good example, teach students basic cybersecurity, and constantly reinforce the following:
    • Protect Your Personal Information: Never post personal information online.
    • Be aware that deceptive contests, giveaways, and surveys are designed to collect personal information.
    • Never share anything including passwords, homework, or access to services or apps – even with your closest friends.
    • Check Before You Download: Talk to parents before opening an email attachment or downloading software.
    • Think Before You Click: Do not click links in emails, text messages, or chat boxes from people you do not know. Be suspicious of links sent from people you know.
    • Block Bullies: Tell a trusted adult if another student in your online class is making you feel uncomfortable.
    • Be sure to keep your laptop or tablet close to you. Keep it in a safe place. Do not leave it unattended outside or in a public place.
    • Talk to your librarian, teacher or parent about where you can go for safe and accurate websites for research.
    • Use long and unique passwords/passphrases, do not re-use them, and create a different one for each account.
    • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible.

Cybersecurity Awareness – If You Connect It, Protect It

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This year marks the 17th year of this initiative, co-led by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCSA). This month we will be feature tips & tricks for how you can be cybersecure.

The IoT (Internet of Things) consists of devices connected to the Internet that share data with other devices and systems via the Internet. According to an Internet of Things Report from Business Insider, in 2019 there were approximately 8 billion IoT devices, and this number is projected to explode to more than 41 billion by 2027. Attackers can spread malware via IoT devices connected to your home network, which may consist of computers, tablets, gaming and entertainment systems, digital cameras, smart appliances, smart doorbells and smart thermostats.

Though increased efficiency, reduced costs, and energy conservation are some of the benefits associated with these devices, there are also risks to privacy and security. The NCSA advises consumers to connect with caution and take steps to secure devices:

  • Before Purchasing a New Device, Do Your Homework: Check out consumer reviews, determine if there are any security/privacy concerns, and understand what security features the device has or lacks.
  • Replace Devices: If there are known vulnerabilities that cannot be resolved or vendor support has ceased, obtain a new device. This might be typical of devices more than 5 years old.
  • Always Change Default Logins and Passwords: Many IoT devices come with default passwords. Create long and unique passwords/passphrases, do not re-use them, and create a different one for each item. In addition, use multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible.
  • Connect Only What You Need, and Isolate on a Separate Wi-Fi Network: This will prevent access to your primary devices, such as laptops and computers.
  • Configure Your Privacy and Security Settings: When activating a device, immediately configure the strongest possible settings. Most devices default to the least secure settings.
  • Disable Features You May Not Need: If there are features you will never need or use, disable them to protect your security and privacy.
  • Keep Software Up-to-Date: Immediately update software when a manufacturer issues an update. And set it to automatically update on its own if there is a setting that allows it. 
  • Think Strategically When Locating Devices: Be mindful of where you place listening devices and cameras when it comes to children’s rooms and areas where you have sensitive work or family discussions. You may want to designate parts of your home as “safe” spaces from IoT devices.

Intact Participating in 2020 TechAssure Virtual Summit

The TechAssure Virtual summit begins today through October 21, and Intact Technology is excited to participate in the event. This year’s summit is a completely immersive virtual event, where members can interact, network and exchange information. If you’re joining, be sure to catch-up with Intact Technology via:

  • Our virtual booth
  • Our downloadable Intact Technology presentation
  • The TechAssure Cyber Risk panel featuring Intact’s David Chavez

Even if you’re not participating in the TechAssure summit, we invite you to get to know our Intact Technology team a little better through this video>>

2020 Scholarship Winners Announced

We are excited to announce the winners of this year’s annual college scholarship program!  For the 17th consecutive year, OneBeacon has awarded scholarships to 16 high-school seniors, and now this year, we opened it up to all post-secondary students. Additionally, we increased the gift amounts to $3,000 and expanded eligibility to grandchildren. Due to broadened program, we saw about a 50% increase in scholarship applicants! Eight of these awards were given to our producers’ children, while the other eight were given to the children of OneBeacon and The Guarantee employees.

The winning recipients were selected based on criteria including their academic performance, leadership roles and participation in school, as well as community activities. The program is administered by Scholarship America®, a nonprofit scholarship program administrator, and funded by our Charitable Trust.

While some schools are still deciding when and how students will attend classes this fall semester, we’re wishing them all the best in their upcoming year.

Congratulations to our 2020 scholarship winners:

RecipientCompany (parent’s employer)Attending
Alyssa DenninECBM LPKutztown University of Pennsylvania
Amalia HornungHays CompaniesUniversity of Minnesota: Twin Cities
Cali MacisakSynapse Services LLCUniversity of Georgia
Destiny JohnsonAssurance Brokers, Ltd.McKendree University
Emma EissesWycoff InsuranceGonzaga University
Erin SundstromOneBeaconUniversity of Connecticut
Foster HarlfingerOneBeaconFordham University
Jack ArtisOneBeaconUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Jack CoulterOneBeaconUniversity of San Diego
Jillian CurranMarsh USAUniversity of Pittsburgh
Kayla ZdonickOneBeaconSUNY College at Oneonta
Kiera RyanOneBeaconUniversity of St. Thomas
Natalie EllingsonMarsh & McClennan AgencyUniversity of South Carolina: Columbia
Peyton MillerOneBeaconUniversity of Kentucky
Robyn JonesOneBeaconBoston University
Timothy HealyPSA Insurance & Financial ServicesUniversity of Missouri: Columbia