Computer typing

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- As more students learn from home, cyber security experts say pranksters and hackers are disrupting Zoom meetings and virtual classes.

Jaiden Gregory is a middle school student in New Albany, Indiana. He is taking virtual classes seriously, which is why he is upset about what happened during Tuesday's history class.

"I didn't feel very safe, and I didn't feel very good about it because I felt provoked," Gregory said.

Jaiden said about 10 minutes into the class, someone who was not supposed to be in attendance joined in.

"He started cussing and talking inappropriately about private parts," Gregory said.

The noise caught the attention of his grandmother.

"He'd yell out 'Shut the blank up,'" Debra Walker said. "It was very bad, and then he called him a racial slur, you know, because he was telling him to get offline," Walker said.

Gregory said the agitator was hidden behind a picture of a cartoon character, and kept getting back into the class after being kicked out.

"People started tuning in telling him to shut up and leave the party," Gregory said.

It is unclear who caused the disruption. New Albany Floyd County Superintendent Dr. Brad Snyder said someone was in a virtual lesson who was not supposed to be there, but does not consider it a hack. Snyder went on to say preventative actions have been taken.

Randy Watkins, chief technology officer at CRITICALSTART, a cyber security company, said people are crashing classes all across the country.

"Parents should feel free to reach out to the schools and ask what controls they're putting in place to protect their children's education and children's data," Watkins said. 

Watkins said schools should be using passwords for every meeting and parents should take steps too, like making sure antivirus software is updated.

"And they should also educate their kids on being diligent when they're on the internet," he said. "Making sure they're going to reputable websites. Not clicking on every link that comes through."

The FBI has more tips on how to protect your children online.

Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.