How do you protect yourself from a karate chop? You step up your game and work on your defence skills. The same goes for protecting yourself online – you step up your game to be protected from digital threats. 

Today is the first day of Cyber Smart Week and the theme this year is Step up your cyber defence.

We’ve teamed up with our friends at CERT NZ to provide some key steps that you can take to help you keep your online learning environments safer and more secure. 

  • Secure your network – Put the control in your hands by configuring network devices like firewalls so connections in and out of your network are secure. You can use N4L’s Remote Access to do this if you need staff to remotely access systems on your network. N4L’s Safe & Secure Internet provides school’s with a baseline level of protection.


  • Use a password manager – Think of this as your own personal assistant (makes you feel pretty fancy doesnt it?). Ensuring your passwords are strong and unique can make them hard to remember. But with a manager, you’ll only have to remember one password (to rule them all).

  • Think before you click – Just because you can click, doesn’t mean you should. Ensure emails are from trusted sources by making it a habit to inspect links by hovering over them first so you can see what they are, and to be sure it goes to the appropriate website.

  • Secure your devices – Stop baddies in their tracks by enabling security software, like antivirus, to prevent malicious software being downloaded to any devices that have access to your data or systems.

  • Turn on two-factor authentication – This adds an extra layer of protection when logging into accounts (keeping all your masterplans safe). 

  • Update your devices – Updates can fix bugs and vulnerabilities as well as providing you with the latest software versions. Setting them to automatically update means you don’t have to do it and you’ve delegated the task to your device – how cool is that?! 

  • Regularly backup your data – Make your technology work when you’re not by setting your backups to happen automatically and store them somewhere secure offline. That way you can get your data back if it’s lost, leaked or stolen.

  • Check your privacy settings – This is a biggy! Make sure you’re aware of what others can see of your online presence. Just like you would for your car or home, lock it or potentially lose it. Think of data as the Hope Diamond – invaluable.

Remember, if you or your school does have a cyber attack or incident, you can use CERT NZ’s online reporting tool. They can help identify the issue and give you steps to resolve it. And don’t forget, you can phone a friend by calling 0800 LEARNING to speak to one of our friendly Helpdesk team or alternatively get in touch with your school’s Relationship Manager.

There are other things you can do as well, such as creating an incident response plan. CERT NZ have some great resources available to help schools with cyber security – check them out so you (or your school) don’t become a victim of a virtual karate chop!