Online Security

Almost everything that we use these days is networked in some fashion. We are very familiar with logging in to access services and resources and many new threats have arisen making use of that familiarity in order to steal our identity.

Spam, Phishing, Malware, Ransomeware, Online fraud, identity theft, and online bullying have become phrases that we encounter on a daily basis.

Spam is basically unwanted messages, or email. It is often used as the delivery system for other, more malicious items.

Phishing is an email or website that is designed to look like a familiar site or company email, like your bank, or Apple iTunes. It will have a form for you to fill out, or a login link or simply a request for you to reply with your information. This information is then used to impersonate you with your bank, email provider, or other agency which allows them to function as you. They might send out Spam or new Phishing attempts to others or worst case access your credit card or bank account. Be very careful to validate any requests to “update your account information”, “login to verify your account”, “contact us to prevent the closure of your account” or other vaguely threatening requests. If you get one and you are unsure if it is legitimate, contact our helpdesk at 250-475-4188 and they can assist you.

Malware is software that is designed to steal information, force your computer to perform tasks for someone else, or damage your computer in some way. Malware can be placed in an ad that is displayed on an otherwise safe website, usually a message that pops up on your screen warning of memory issues, speed issues, viruses found, all with a “click here to fix” button. Malware can also be hidden in free apps for birthday reminders, daily horoscope, daily encouragement messages. All of our SD61 computers have antivirus programs installed but if you notice your laptop suddenly running more slowly, or see new windows opening on their own, contact the helpdesk to have your laptop scanned.

Ransomware is a particularly pernicious type of malware. Once this software installs on one computer in a network it immediately starts encrypting files so that they require a password in order to open them. It leaves a note telling you how to contact them and pay them in order to acquire the password. Depending on the version it may also start trying to infect other computers. If you think that this has happened, contact our helpdesk immediately.

As adults working with children, we have a responsibility to protect them as well as ourselves.

We have curated several helpful videos in our Learning Team’s online safety playlist:

There are many additional helpful safety resources online:

Google’s Digital Safety Course

Our Helpdesk has put together some information.

The RCMP have an internet safety site.

Wikipedia gives us definitions of the different types of risks out there.

Antivirus companies like Macafee offer tips to stay safe.