A virtual school day that got off to a normal start took a terrifying turn for a sixth grade student in Plano, Texas. A hacker got into his online classroom and sent him threatening messages.

“About 10 minutes into the presentation, tabs started popping up,” Ashton told CBS 11 News on Aug. 19. “They said really scary things, like ‘I’m going to kill you and if you tell your teacher, that they’re going to kill me.'”

The hacker even posted Ashton’s home address.

“It was really scary. I was terrified,” he said.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, at least 20 staffers at Millbrook Magnet High School reported their live instructions were disrupted when intruders got access to their classes last week, CBS affiliate WNCN reported.

The school’s website says a group of students “used inappropriate and offensive language as well as insulted students and teachers directly.”

Cyber security experts say these types of hacks will keep happening because so many schools were forced to make a quick transition to full e-learning this year.

“With that rush will come increased cyber risks for schools and for their students and families,” said Patrick Thielen, a cyber security expert at Chubb.

Terrence McGraw, president of the cybersecurity firm PC Matic, said there are a few things you can do to help keep your family safe.

“The number one thing is making sure you have a good solid antivirus solution to make sure you’re not getting attacked by drive-by criminal behavior,” he told WJZ.

It’s also important to monitor children to ensure they are on the correct website.

“Especially for the smaller kids, just make sure they’re protected because they don’t know what lurks out in the badlands for them,” he said.

McGraw also recommends enabling two-factor authentication as an added layer of security and checking with your child’s school to see what they’re doing to keep everyone safe.

“It’s OK to engage with teachers and saying, ‘What solution are you using? How are my kids going to connect to the classroom?’ and making sure due diligence is practiced on both sides.

The Better Business Bureau also offers a number of back to school internet safety tips for parents, teachers and administrators.

The Department of Education has also published guidance for students, parents and school officials to navigate the cyber risks involved in remote learning.


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