Students navigate uncharted territory as pandemic forces education online

A photo of what Ari Green's virtual classroom looks like with students who recently spoke on the right

(WFSB) – COVID-19 forced districts to shut down with many students moving learning to online.

Criminals are now seeing this trend as a way to hack into virtual classrooms.

By now, many people have signed up for a Zoom account, which is the new way to stay in touch.

It turns out that hackers and predators are checking to see who’s not on their guard.

Online learning is leading the way in distance learning. A web camera and microphone acts as a portal to a classroom.

Remote conferencing services like Zoom are not only popular for work meetings, but also for teachers and students.

The combination of children being at home more often while being online means hackers are looking to exploit the situation by crashing meetings.

“In some cases, it’s been profanity or racially motivated statements and in some cases, it’s been sexually explicit behavior,” said Special Agent Michael Syrax, FBI.

The FBI tells Channel 3 these opportunists are able to barge in because of Zoom’s privacy settings. To avoid becoming a victim, here are some tips:

  • Don’t make meetings or classrooms public.
  • If hosting, make sure a password is required
  • Screen sharing should only be done by the host

To place a spotlight on the alarming trend, the FBI launched a campaign on Wednesday. The message is don’t let bad actors add another disruption to this disruption by handing over the virtual keys to your video chat.

Law enforcement is not only looking at Zoom, but all platforms where children are on.

The FBI couldn’t comment if there are cases in Connecticut.

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