DOJ warns public on emerging security risks in online classes


The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) has issued a public advisory in response to emerging security risks associated with the opening of blended learning and online classes on October 5 amidst the continuing 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,” the DOJ advisory noted.

DOJ Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC) officer-in-charge Charito Zamora identified some of the security risks such as loss of confidentiality, availability and integrity of computer data, “as well as exposure of students to abusive strangers and harmful online content.”

Zamora advised school administrators never to share meeting room credentials, both ID and password, to the public to protect students from possible security risks. Efforts must be “exerted to promote the welfare of children and enhance their opportunities for a useful and happy life” she added.

He urged school administrators running online classes to accept participants’ request to join meetings 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 to allow participants to join before the host, or rename themselves, send messages to one another, replace their background with any image or share their screens. It also advised schools not to leave students alone in a virtual classroom, and always update the application to its latest version.

In addition, the DOJ stressed that parents should teach their children proper “netiquette” online to protect them from security risks associated with the use of various video conferencing services.

DOJ also advised the public to report untoward incidents to the Philippine National Police ([email protected] or their Facebook account, or the National Bureau of Investigation Cybercrime Division ([email protected]) or the DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime ([email protected]

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