As more and more school districts begin to go back to school—and at least part of that schooling is online—the threat of becoming targets for cyber crime is increasing.

Why target schools? Because some school districts lack the funds for proper security measures but have a ton of personal data available.

FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson of the Cleveland Division recently recommended that school districts do what they can to ensure their cyber security systems are up-to-date, especially since cyber crimes have been up since the pandemic.

Seeing as ransomware and hacking attacks have become more common in businesses, municipalities, and school systems, the FBI suggests school districts be more vigilant about such attacks. “It’s really important that even though we are trying to learn and get up to speed as quickly as we can, that we take time to learn security measures because it can save you in the long run,” said Special Agent Anderson.

What are some of these measures? Schools should ensure that they have:

  • All systems up-to-date and backed up
  • Back-up systems in multiple places
  • A plan in case a cyber attack occurs
  • Invitations with passwords for virtual classrooms shared only with students/parents—never publicly

Parents should also be alert, as some hackers may try to target students’, parents’ and teachers’ personal information via virtual means.

One way parents can do this is to ensure their children aren’t straying away from their school’s and other educational websites and heading to social media sites while logged into these platforms. This can be achieved by putting blockers up for certain sites while children are completing schoolwork online.

If any student, parent, school, or district believes they’ve been hacked, contact the FBI immediately; do not pay any type of ransom.