With the 2020-2021 school year underway, many K-12 educators, administrators, students and families are facing an indefinite period of remote learning. While there are numerous challenges arising from this new academic environment, chief among them is this unfortunate reality of our times: hackers are always looking for ways to capitalize on a crisis.
In the early days of the pandemic, as diagnoses increased, so too did coronavirus-related scams. As a senior FDA official recently outlined, “In the past months, we have seen an unprecedented proliferation of fraudulent products related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and more than ever before, the internet is being used as the primary vehicle for marketing these unproven products.”
These scams aren’t limited to fake testing kits or unapproved vaccines; hackers are also preying on consumers’ fear and confusion to lure them into phishing schemes and malware attacks. Within the K-12 sector specifically, the FBI recently issued an alert warning that “…cyber actors are likely to increase targeting of K-12 schools during the COVID-19 pandemic because they represent an opportunistic target as more of these institutions transition to distance learning.”
In this environment, it’s imperative that schools are cognizant of remote learning security vulnerabilities but it’s equally critical that families know how to address them. That’s why schools must educate their communities about these threats as part of their continued remote learning communication.