Keeping personal information secure is a crucial part of safe internet browsing. Aside from keeping your computing resources updated with the latest patches and security fixes people must protect themselves from social engineering tactics meant to steal personal information. This resource page is meant to inform and provide information on how to keep yourself and your computing resources protected against malicious intent.

Phishing: The Top Cyber Threat Posted by Jason Bailey, Ph.D, CETL on 10/15/2019

..... While you may have a preconceived idea of hackers manipulating code to infiltrate your systems, it is far more likely that cyber criminals will manipulate people to gain the access they need. In fact, most breaches involve phishing and more than 75% of organizations and businesses were targeted by phishing scams in each of the past two years.

Scam alert

If you are less than familiar with the term, Phishing is a ”fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” While designing a program to get someone’s password is fairly complicated, it turns out that designing an email that convinces them to just tell you... isn’t very complicated at all. In fact, Verizon reported that 30% of phishing messages get opened, and 12% of targeted users click on the malicious attachment or link.

Several studies indicate that phishing attacks are still on the increase. Phishing remains the preferred vector for cyber threat actors, and organizations cite phishing as the top cyber threat. Last year alone, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center registered more than $1.2 billion lost to email account compromise, and it is likely that these breaches are vastly underreported.

So, how can we begin to protect ourselves and our school districts against this cyber menace? Two of the most popular responses are: education and assessment.

Steps you can take to be more secure today:

  • Regularly update security software on your computer, and run updates on your cell phone

  • Frequently back up your critical files to an external drive or cloud storage

  • Educate yourself (and your staff) on scam tip-offs like generic greetings, bogus email accounts, and pressure tactics designed to make you click on the bait

  • Scrutinize URL’s to make sure they will lead to a legitimate top-level domain

  • If in doubt, don’t click, and hover over links to reveal the real URL

  • Report any suspicious emails to your district’s IT department

Protect your privacy on the internet.

Creating strong password for your accounts.