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Schools: The New Normal | Cyber Security Concerns Grow As Many Students Start School Year Online

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With students of all ages starting the school year online, concerns are growing over possible cyber attacks.

Classes and meetings have already been disrupted by online intruders, but there are things you can do to protect your child's privacy and keep them safe.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Schools: The New Normal

Back to school in the age of COVID-19 means your kids may be able to forget the locker combination and focus on the computer password, but with all the new programs and software comes a warning.

"Privacy is one of the key elements here that is severely at risk," said Jeff Schwartz, a cyber security expert with Checkpoint Software.

He told CBS2's Jessica Layton learning through a laptop lens raises several cyber safety concerns.

"Ransomware, phishing attacks, credential stealing, compromise of assets," Schwartz said.

Wednesday, during a Zoom press conference in response to a deal between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the United Federation of Teachers, someone hijacked the meeting. It abruptly ended as the person did inappropriate things on screen.

RELATED STORY: Concerns Growing Over Zoom Bombing As Hackers Interrupt Meetings

Meanwhile, in Florida, students and teachers in Miami Dade schools couldn't get online after its remote learning community was hit by cyber attacks for the third straight day.

Officials say some of the attacks came from outside the country.

Experts encourage parents to keep the following in mind:

  • Turn off computer cameras and microphones when your child isn't in class.
  • Make sure there's no personal information in your child's virtual background, like bills or a bank statement on the counter.
  • Don't use the same device for schooling that you would for banking.

Also, beware of so-called clickbait ads. Parents are doing a lot of last-minute back-to-school shopping online right now for clothes, supplies, even masks, and there are a lot of fake websites out there.

Schwartz says of the 35,000 new domains registered with a back-to-school theme in the past three months, more than 500 were malicious, meaning they're out to steal your information. Another 3,400 were suspicious.

It's an attempt to take advantage of families that are still at their most vulnerable.

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