Cybersecurity and cyberbullying are uniquely associated in Okay-12 on-line studying methods

One of many many distinctive themes of Okay-12 cybersecurity, in comparison with different industries, is how intently it’s tied to cyber security. One instance of this relationship is that between cybersecurity and cyberbullying. Whereas, on the floor, they’re two various things, there are similarities between the 2.

On one hand, hackers are identified to make use of cyberbullying ways to attempt to receive cash and/or info from their victims. On the opposite, cyberbullies usually take inspiration from hacker playbooks to harass their victims. In reality, minors who’re cyberbullied are 9 instances extra prone to be victims of identification fraud than those that will not be.

The connections between cybersecurity and cyberbullying are not often made, however in our world, it’s but another excuse why Okay-12 cybersecurity is so essential. Since October is each Cybersecurity Consciousness Month and Cyberbullying Prevention Consciousness Month, we determined to discover this generally neglected intersection between cybersecurity and cyberbullying.

Cyberbullies and Cybersecurity

District IT admins are discovering new and confounding ways in which college students use college know-how seemingly on daily basis. Actions akin to utilizing Google Docs as chat rooms, sharing Google Meet hyperlinks with others outdoors their classmates, and importing specific pictures to Google Drive are only a few examples of habits that directors should “whack-a-mole” of their domains.

There are additionally many examples of scholars taking cues from hacker playbooks to bully others—each on and off college know-how. One common instance is to create a number of faux profiles utilizing their sufferer’s title. They may then use the profile they created to behave badly. This will embody sharing inappropriate pictures, cyberbullying different college students, and doing quite a lot of issues that may embarrass or get their sufferer into hassle.

Cyberbullies are additionally identified to create faux profiles and use that entry to befriend their sufferer on-line. As soon as they’ve established a relationship, the bully can coerce the sufferer into offering content material they’ll use towards them akin to bare pictures and/or speaking badly about academics or friends. The bully also can coerce the sufferer into offering private info that they’ll exploit.

Whereas the primary two assaults can’t be completed on college domains, since new person creation is intently managed, one other cybersecurity menace that cyberbullies have gotten extra expert at is hacking into their sufferer’s account. These assaults can occur to high school accounts in addition to the sufferer’s private social media, e mail, gaming, or different on-line accounts. From there, the bully can then use the sufferer’s profile to behave badly and/or harass the sufferer’s associates and contacts, acquire entry to their private info, and extra.

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Hackers as Cyberbullies

Many college students don’t discover it suspicious when strangers contact them on-line. Couple that with the talents predators use to groom, coerce, and bully college students and you’ve got some terrifying conditions.

Sextortion On the Rise

An more and more troubling concern in Okay-12 college districts is sextortion. In reality, it’s gotten so dangerous that the FBI is getting concerned in sextortion consciousness campaigns for college kids, dad and mom, and caregivers.

Predators are making contact with college students, grooming them, after which attractive them to ship sexually specific pictures. College students who’re being bullied, really feel excluded, or who don’t have many associates are particularly weak to one of these strategy. They’re usually extra keen to imagine that the predator loves them. These predators aren’t simply in it for the photographs. They could use it to bully and blackmail their victims for fee and/or additional sexual acts.

There are additionally cybercriminals who will hack right into a pupil’s account and discover embarrassing or specific photographs or movies, after which use it to blackmail them. The hacker threatens the coed and coerces them into giving them cash to keep away from publicity of the fabric. Typically a hacker will make the coed imagine that they’ve embarrassing content material even when they don’t, after which cyberbully and blackmail them.

Ransomware and Knowledge Blackmail

There have been a number of incidences of ransomware assaults turning into blackmail. Sadly, the transfer to distant studying because of the COVID-19 pandemic has given hackers much more alternative. For instance, districts in California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Nevada had been all not too long ago hit with ransomware assaults.

Since many college students, academics, and employees are counting on distant entry connections, the necessity for districts to audit their cybersecurity infrastructure is much more essential than ever.

Up to now, hackers would launch a ransomware assault to extort cash from the district. Now, they’re more and more threatening to launch district information in the event that they aren’t paid inside a particular timeframe. And, as within the latest incident in Nevada, hackers actually do launch the info in the event that they’re not paid.

Threats to Bodily Effectively-Being and Security

There are additionally a number of terrifying examples of cybercriminals threatening college students bodily except a faculty district met their calls for. One instance contains Johnston Neighborhood Faculty District in Iowa the place a hacking group threatened to launch info that may make it straightforward for “any baby predator” to “simply purchase new targets.”

The criminals additionally messaged threats to folks of scholars within the district. The messages bought very particular, together with the kid’s title and college, and threatening to hurt them. The district closed down eight colleges for sooner or later to do a safety sweep, reopening the subsequent day with further safety. It was later decided that the hackers bought pupil info and father or mother cellphone numbers from a server stored by a third-party vendor.

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Detecting Cybersecurity Incidents and Cyberbullying Alerts

The FBI and the Okay-12 Cybersecurity Useful resource Middle have reported vital upticks in district cybersecurity incidents because the begin of the college yr. In keeping with the Useful resource Middle, there have been 220 assaults for the 2020 calendar yr as of mid-September. Evaluate that to the 348 in all of 2019, and because the college yr has simply began, there’s a clear drawback.

In lots of circumstances, college students and employees are returning to high school networks with gadgets which have been out of the community and away from IT oversight since final spring. Cybercriminals already seen Okay-12 college districts as low-hanging fruit earlier than the pandemic. Now that colleges are extra reliant on on-line know-how than ever, they’re much more of a goal.

On the similar time, college students are coping with elevated stress, nervousness, and tedium because the COVID-19 pandemic continues to maintain them bodily remoted. There isn’t numerous analysis on how this can affect college students’ on-line experiences, however colleges ought to plan on remaining diligent relating to monitoring on-line habits and detecting when a pupil wants further assets. We may see an increase in cyberbullying as college students spend extra time on-line.

District IT groups want to know that there are relationships between cybersecurity and cyberbullying, they usually want to have the ability to monitor their district’s purposes and knowledge methods to detect such points.

One technique that’s serving to districts is the usage of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework commonplace to assist combat towards the rising incidence of cybersecurity and cyberbullying threats.

How cybersecurity and cyberbullying in K-12 schools are intertwined

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