Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Email and Spam - Putting BVSD at Risk

Spam is something that most would agree is a nuisance, but it can also be very damaging to the entire district. Clicking on a malicious link can shut down BVSD email services for days.

Today, we had BVSD employees receive spam messages related to cleaning up their computers. These emails looked real enough for two people to click the link. The result was that their PCs became spam generators, sending thousands of emails without their knowledge from their BVSD accounts.

When email providers receive bvsd.org-generated emails en mass, they blacklist the district so that no email from any bvsd.org address can get through. It can take IT hours or days to convince the email companies to take us off their blacklist.  

Being blacklisted by a major email provider can severely limit or shut down the business operation that supports education.

Many times the offending PCs need to be reimaged to ensure the issue is resolved, causing further loss of productivity for the individual and for IT service staff.

What does IT do to help?

Approximately 95% of all emails sent to BVSD are discarded before they reach anyone’s mailbox. The remaining 5% are scrutinized by our email filter to determine if they are legitimate. Most times the filters get it right, but sometimes the filter believes a message is legitimate when it is actually spam. It is in this case that we need your help. 

What can you do to help?

Think Before You Link - Never click on email links or attachments unless you are absolutely sure they are from a trusted sender.  When email arrives from outside the district, beware. Look closely at the subject and sender without opening the email. Some spam looks legitimate because it appears similar to an email you might get from a reputable company. If you are in doubt, it is probably spam - delete it!

Official institutions, including BVSD, will never ask for your username, password, credit card number, or other personal information via email. 

If you do inadvertently click any links or attachments in or reply to the spam email, please change your password immediately. That will stop the spammers from using your system and will help protect district assets. 

If you have immediate concerns, please call the IT Service Desk at x5065 or place an IT Service Request. If you have suggestions or comments please chime in here. Just remember you need to be logged in to comment (upper right corner).  


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