General rules to prevent Viruses and Malware:
1. Please do not open emails that you think are suspicious. I know it is hard to tell. The virus people are making it very hard to tell legitimate emails from malicious ones. The rule I follow and most industry experts say that if you don’t recognize the person that sent you the email and especially if it has an attachment do not open it. Immediately contact your IT expert.
2. Sometimes emails may be sent to look like they come from someone you know. Viruses can even spoof internal business email addresses like one that says firstname.lastname@example.org or even from someone you know like email@example.com that says for example “Hello, this is your system admin Joe, please send me your credentials because there is an error with our account.” Please if you think it is suspicious in any way do not open any attachment or click on any links in the email before checking with IT first by phone or sending us an email. Virus emails will rarely respond to you if you reply back to the email you were sent from them saying “yes it is me Joe and I do need your credentials”. Always be cautious and ask IT if you have a suspicious email. We can connect to your computer and check it out before you open it.
3. Don’t visit “free websites or websites that promote free stuff” don’t download free applications.
4. Smartphones are quickly becoming the next target for viruses and anti-malware. Downloading apps on your phones can be very dangerous. Please make sure to research the app before you download it. Many times apps require you to give them access to phone call data, picture data, location data, etc… on your phone. Very rarely do apps really need this type of access to work properly. Please be very cautious when allowing access to apps for these types of data.
5. There are some countries that as soon as you step off the plane into them your phone tries to connect to their free wireless etc.. and it gets infected with something. This can happen anywhere like internet café’s, Starbucks, Mcdonalds, etc… don’t use free wifi. Anyone can set up a free wifi in these areas and trick you to connecting to their free internet and then they intercept everything you do on your phone or computer including banking credentials etc… this is a common way to steal identities and ruin your credit etc…
6. Please read up on protecting yourself from identity theft, computer viruses, and malware. The suggestions I gave above are just a quick version of what industry leaders say. Please be responsible for your computers and your data and your identity and read up on protecting yourself when using electronics.
7. Backups of the district data and your personal data at home is very important also. If you do get infected with a ransomware virus you will not be able to decrypt the infected files and you do not want to pay anyone especially the person that made the virus to decrypt your files. You will need to first disinfect your computer then delete all the infected files then retrieve them from a backup. At home, you might need to get professional IT help to do this. We do our best to backup the district data and your work computer data that you save in the home folder. You should also invest in a backup solution for your personal data at home. A cloud backup system is the best solution or second to that of an external hard drive backup system at home.
8. At Work always save important documents etc… to your home folder. It is also known as your H:\ drive or it also has your login name on it (for example JSmoe) This is the only folder we backup on a daily basis. If you save stuff on your desktop or on your C:\ drive it will not be backed up and will be lost if something happens to your computer. Don’t assume that if you save files to your documents folder that it is being backed up. Always save to your home folder by navigating to the computer then the H: drive when saving stuff.