(WWBT) - Federal investigators say hackers are stealing student data to try to extort money from districts. The hackers are sending threatening text messages to some parents.
The Department of Education says this is a serious threat, with schools in at least three states hit by hackers, threatening to expose personal, even embarrassing information about students, if the districts don't pay up.
While you cannot protect your school's server, there are some things you can do.
First, ask questions before you give up any personal information about your kids. The Federal Trade Commission says schools should not need your kid's social security number in most cases. If you are asked to supply that, ask why.
If you are filling out a form for a school program online, double check its security by seeing if the web address begins with https:// and has the lock symbol.
While federal law protects some of your kids' information, other data is likely being shared with government agencies, school vendors, and other groups.
If you're worried about the safety of your kids' private information, ask school leaders how they're protecting it.
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