How hackers are getting inside our kids' classrooms

Internet-connected classrooms have transformed the way our children learn, but it’s also given rise to a dangerous new threat.

It’s been revealed that school Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to hackers able to access devices used by students, meaning they can get hold of photos of children or even make contact with them.

It can take just minutes for a hacker to identify a school’s public Wi-Fi network and potentially access photographs, videos, homework or digital contacts.

It can take just minutes for a hacker to identify a school’s public Wi-Fi network. Source: 7 News
It can take just minutes for a hacker to identify a school’s public Wi-Fi network. Source: 7 News

In one case, a hacker got into a school’s Wi-Fi and was talking with a Year 6 student on his iPad.

“It was only the fact that the teacher was very alert and picked it up really quickly and shut it down,” cyber security expert Sorin Toma said.

In another school, a hacker changed a link so students were logging onto a site on the Dark Web.

“It is very easy for predators to access the wireless network and get information about children and even access to children,” Mr Toma said.

There are 9444 schools in Australia, with 3,849,000 students enrolled.

Almost all have Wi-Fi networks, and authorities have no way of knowing who is hacking them unless they’re caught after using the information.

Almost all Australian schools have Wi-Fi networks, and authorities often have no way of knowing who is hacking them. Source: 7 News
Almost all Australian schools have Wi-Fi networks, and authorities often have no way of knowing who is hacking them. Source: 7 News

Melbourne’s Blackburn High School Wi-Fi system was hacked last year, capturing students’ phone numbers and addresses which were then used in attempted scams.

Experts suggest talking with your school about their Wi-Fi security and getting a Virtual Private Network, an encrypted tunnel between a child’s device and the Wi-Fi network.

Experts suggest talking with your school and child about Wi-Fi security. 7 News
Experts suggest talking with your school and child about Wi-Fi security. 7 News
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