Cybersecurity - Staying Safe Online

  • We are now more connected than ever. Email, text messaging, video chats and online collaboration tools are a part of everyday life. Understanding the common ways these communication mechanisms can be utilized to take advantage of unsuspecting victims is an important step in staying safe online. Marion County Public Schools has tools in place to restrict the number of these attempts, however being vigilant and mindful of these attacks is key to staying safe online.

     

    Phishing

    Phishing is an attempt to gather personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, etc. through malicious links or attachments. More often than not, phishing messages follow a standard framework that can be easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for. Many phishing emails have grammer and spelling errors. Be suspicious of unfamiliar links and check where links will take you before you follow them. Don't click any link you are unsure about. Double check who sent the message and reach out to that person directly if you have any questions or concerns about the authenticity of the email.

     

     

    Gift Card Requests

    Many scams will ask you to buy gift cards or pre-paid debit cards and send the information from those cards to the scammer. This request may seem to come from someone you know but in reality a stranger is using the name of a person or organization you are familiar with to build trust. Some scam attempts will suggest that you need to buy gift cards and give them the information from the card to settle a legal matter or debt. People trying to get you to fall for the scam may insist that the matter is urgent and even threaten legal action or arrest if you fail to follow along. Don't be fooled. No government organization or company wants you to pay a debt with gift cards.

     

    Copycat Emails and Websites

    Scammers can copy official websites and emails from real companies. When you get a message with links there are some things you can check to make sure that the email is legitimate. Check the web address of a website or link before you provide any information. Dangerous links often have similar but different names to the company they are imitating. Minor spelling differences (for example, Googl.com instead of Google.com) may indicate a problem. Also look out for swapped letters (Googel.com) or numbers used in place of letters (G00gle.com).

     

    Password Requests

    Never give out your passwords. There is no reason to share your password with anyone. If you think that someone else may know your password you need to change your password. Students and families can contact their school for help changing passwords. Employees can contact the help desk at (352) 671-5700 (ext. 57000) for assistance.