EMAIL SPOOFING ON THE RISE

Good Afternoon,

I’m sure by now you are all familiar with and have experienced email phishing, but today I’m reaching out to discuss another very popular tactic called email spoofing.

Email spoofing is a type of forgery that makes the email look like it’s from a boss or colleague in need. They will often send a short, vague and sometimes desperate email in attempt to get you to reply to the message. Recently, school districts (including ours) have been hit hard with these attempts. Just in the last week we’ve seen five building administrator’s accounts spoofed.

You can generally tell that these are fake emails by looking at the email address the message is being sent from.  For example, the account doe.john@iowacityschools.org would be someone from the district and should be safe to reply to. However, an email from johndoe12@gmail.comprincipaljohndoe@yahoo.com, or even doe.john.iowacityschools.org@gmail.com are fake and potentially malicious. These are only examples and this is not an exhaustive list.

Here are few email best practices put together by the Help Desk.

  • Do not send confidential or sensitive information via email.
  • Do not send money or gift cards via email.
  • Always verify the sender’s address.
  • Keep an eye out for a yellow or red warning across the top of an email.


As always, if you have questions or suspect a spoofed email, contact the Help Desk.


Thanks,

Josh Reynolds
Client Services Manager

National IT Professionals Day

September 17th, 2019 is National IT Professionals Day!

At the Iowa City Community School District, we have a variety of roles in our tech department. Here are the types of IT professionals that make up our technology and innovation staff, and the ways they support tech throughout the district!

HelpDesk

If you’ve ever had a broken device, trouble logging in to an account, or issues getting your tech to work properly, then you’re probably already familiar with the ICCSD Help Desk.

Since the start of our fiscal year on July 1st, the HelpDesk has received over 2,500 support requests. Helpdesk staff review many of these tickets, and either complete the request themselves or assign them to a more specialized tech staff member. Whether you give them a call on the phone or submit a request online through HappyFox, our HelpDesk staff is here to…well…help!

Technical Support Specialists

The Iowa City Community School District has a total of 28 schools, plus additional facilities like the bus barn and physical plant (just to name a couple). All of these buildings have technological devices that need to be supported and maintained. Enter the ICCSD Tech Support Specialists!

While most of our tech staff members work from the ESC, our tech support specialists provide “on the field” support. Some of them are stationed at a single school, while others travel across the district, checking on multiple buildings per day. They make sure the tech in each building is functioning properly and support Happyfox tickets at the buildings to which they are assigned.

Network & System Administrators

In layman’s terms, our Network/Systems Administrators make sure that our internet works. This group oversees server and networking infrastructure, equipment, deployment, administration, and maintenance. 

They also administer Active Directory, a program that helps us assign email addresses and account permissions to students and staff throughout the district.

Data Team and Administrative Staff

Our data team members maintain necessary data in Powerschool and other district applications. They also export pertinent data when needed to evaluate programs or understand district demographics.

Administrative staff don’t really fit into any of the previously mentioned categories, but fulfill vital roles in the tech department. They perform the clerical and administrative tasks that keep our department’s operations running as smoothly as possible.

Fiber Cut 9/11/2019

Final Update: District fiber has been rerouted and all services have been restored. If you have any additional connection issues please contact the Helpdesk. 
 
 
 
Update:Internet and phone services have been restored at all schools except for Hoover, Lemme, and Lucas. 
 
The following update was provided to families of the remaining affected schools.
 

“We wanted to make you aware that construction crews working on a private development in Iowa City cut and damaged over 1,000 feet of Iowa City Community School District and city-owned fiber optic cable, which caused an internet outage at the end of the school day Wednesday, September 11. The outage impacted City and Tate High Schools, South East Junior High, and Alexander, Hills, Hoover, Lemme, Lucas, Twain, and Wood Elementary Schools. As of Wednesday early evening, services have been restored to City, Tate, South East, Alexander, Hills, Twain, and Wood by using a secondary fiber optic path.   

Unfortunately, there is no redundant fiber path available for Hoover, Lemme, and Lucas Elementary Schools. Crews will be working through the night to establish a temporary fiber route for these buildings, with a best-case completion timeline of Thursday morning. In the meantime, internet and phone services at Hoover, Lemme, and Lucas will be unavailable. Parents who need to get in touch with the school by phone can still call the school’s regular number, and those calls will be routed through district office staff. The district is working to establish cellular phone and data services in the affected buildings to provide for communications needs.  

We appreciate your patience as we work through this issue.”

 
Orginal Notice: A fiber connection providing internet services for the school district and the City of Iowa City have been cut somewhere between the ESC and SEJH. Repair crews have been dispatched and are currently working on locating the cut. The following schools are affected and will do not have the internet.
 
  • Lucas
  • Lemme
  • Hoover
  • City
  • Sejh
  • City Annex
  • Hills
  • Twain
  • Alexander
  • Wood
  • TSC
 

PowerSchool and Google Issues

We are currently experiencing problems with access to PowerSchool, as well as issues with Google authentication.  These issues appear to be unrelated, and are both originating outside of our network.  

We have a support request in with Grant Wood AEA to restore our access to PowerSchool, and are monitoring the situation developing globally with Google authentication services.  

Happy Fox is working again

UPDATE: Happy Fox is working again

 

Happy Fox is temporarily down. For now, instead of submitting a ticket, email the Help Desk at ​helpdesk@iowacityschools.org if you’re having technology-related problems.

No wifi districtwide tomorrow (Friday, July 12)

Due to a wireless management software upgrade, there will be no wifi districtwide tomorrow (Friday, July 12). This will start at 8 AM and last the entire day. Please note that screenbeams and other devices that require wireless internet will not work. Wired internet connection will continue to work. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the help desk.

Email outage

UPDATE: Email services are working normally. If you’re experiencing issues this morning, please contact the help desk.

We are currently experiencing district-wide problems with email. Google is working on resolving this issue nationwide. We will post an update when we’ve received word that the issue has been resolved.

Addressing Budget Realities

Along with many other school districts in Iowa, the Iowa City Community School District is working through a challenging budget situation for the coming fiscal year. After years of identifying opportunities for increased fiscal efficiency, there are few ways to further reduce costs without impacting service delivery and – ultimately – the classroom environment available to our children.

While I won’t address the District’s comprehensive efforts to address these challenges in this post, I do want to highlight some of the efforts we’ve made in the Office of Technology & Innovation. The past several years have been marked by significant technology-focused initiatives, including those focused on device availability and infrastructure, as well as initiatives such as our IDS Innovation team’s focus on instructional technology integration.

Continue reading Addressing Budget Realities

Faculty and Staff Computer Purchases

We have once again partnered with the University of Iowa to offer discounts for faculty and staff members who wish to purchase Apple computers and other Apple devices.

Receive up to $575 off of the regular retail price on select MacBook®, MacBook Pro®, MacBook Air®, iPad Pro®, iMac® models during our Apple Faculty and Staff Apple Appreciation Event April 25-26! Preorder online now through April 8th to be sure we have the model you want in stock.   

It’s really easy: 

1) Review the product list to find out which item best meets your needs, https://www.hawkshop.com/facultyandstaff 

2) Simply fill out the information below to select your model and we will reserve your item. 

3) Then stop into the Iowa Hawk Shop on the Ground Floor of the IMU April 25-26*.  

In addition to receiving the discount on your Apple device, we will also be giving away Apple swag to those who pick up their items in the store and as always the Hawk Shop is tax-free!    

*To receive the extended discount, payment for your item must be made on April 25-26, purchases made before or after the date will not qualify for savings.     

For any questions, please contact Ruby Bollinger at ruby-bollinger@uiowa.edu, or call  319-353-5212. 

Reservation form: https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cCRL5fTLZsoyV0N

Gmail Sending Limits

As we enter student registration and summer programming signup season, we’ve received inquiries from a number of District staff members regarding Gmail sending limits. While most users of the District’s email system would never run into these limits, it’s important that staff members who are regularly communicating with large numbers of individuals be aware of the following limits:

Continue reading Gmail Sending Limits