Phishing, What it is and How to Prevent it
Did you know that 91% of successful data breaches started with a spear phishing attack? According to a 2019 Verizon report, 32% of all data breaches involved phishing in one way or another. According to Wikipedia, “Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent ("spoofed") message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information to the attacker or to deploy malicious software on the victim's infrastructure like ransomware. Phishing attacks have become increasingly sophisticated and often transparently mirror the site being targeted, allowing the attacker to observe everything while the victim is navigating the site, and transverse any additional security boundaries with the victim. As of 2020, phishing is by far the most common attack performed by cyber-criminals, with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Centre recording over twice as many incidents of phishing than any other type of computer crime.
Phishing attacks could be in the form of an email message, a social media post asking you a question, a text message or even an actual phone call. The thing to remember is that these attacks are trying to get you to share personal information. Phishing attacks often try to get people to share the following information:
- Date of birth
- Social security or other ID numbers
- Phone numbers
- Credit card details
- Home address
- Mother’s maiden name
- Password information (or what they need to reset your password)
It is extremely important that you remain vigilant and also train your children to be vigilant in their scrutiny of any email, text message, or social media post that could be a phishing attack. Things to look for that could help alert you about a possible phishing attack are messages that request actions including the following:
- Clicking an attachment
- Enabling macros in Word document
- Updating a password
- Responding to a social media connection request
- Using a new wi-fi hot spot.
The article 19 Examples of Common Phishing Emails…And How to Avoid Them includes valuable information about this serious topic.
As always, if you have any questions about anything we have written about or you need some assistance with technology please reach out!
The NIS IT Support Team
Questions Around Privacy and Internet Safety
As parents in the digital age we have to consider things that just weren’t around when we were kids. Parents these days have many questions regarding their child’s use of technology and all of the positive and negative aspects this brings. Some of these question may include:
- How do I protect my child's privacy online?
- What are the best privacy settings for my computer and smartphone?
- Is it safe to post pictures of my kid online?
- What are some good rules for screen names and password?
- How can I make sure my kid's privacy is protected when her teacher is using digital tools for teaching?
- What should I do if I think my child's device has been hacked?
In this week’s tip I would like to provide a link to a website that will help answer all of these questions and more. This website is a great resource to find answers to these questions and others centered around privacy and Internet safety. What makes this site even better, you can filter the articles by age group.
I hope you find this site useful in answering your question about privacy and internet safety. As always, if you have any questions or would like to talk about any of the topics shared, please contact us.
The NIS IT Support Team
Creating a Family Media Agreement
Many families struggle with their children doing things on devices that parents would rather they didn’t. One of the things families first ask about are parental controls. I want to discuss why I don’t recommend parental controls. First, blocking and restricting is not a good option unless absolutely necessary. The reason for this is that usually blocking and restricting will set up an us-against-them type of environment between the parent and the child around technology use. Also, children and teens often find ways around the restrictions and the unwanted behavior goes underground. Basically, the behavior doesn't change, and they begin doing it while also hiding the fact that they are doing it, and often lying about it. As you can see, this is not the type of situation we want in any household. So, what can be done?
What I suggest is the creation of a family media agreement and technology contract. My family has one and it helps us create a healthy media diet balance in the household. According to Common Sense Media, "A healthy media diet balances three things: what kids do, how much time they spend doing it, and whether their content choices are age-appropriate. Mixing media and tech time with other activities will help families find that happy medium. Family Media Agreements and Device Contracts set realistic rules that make sense for your family so you and your kids can make the most out of media and tech time."
The following links are some of the best resources available to help your family create a family media agreement.
As always, if you would like to discuss being an effective parent in the digital age please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Dr. Shannon Doak
NIS Director of Technology
Digital Citizenship Philosophy
To support the creation of an inclusive learning community here at NIS, we promote a thoughtful and balanced approach to the use of digital technology. Our philosophy includes three main approaches: Respect, Protect, and Connect. It is important that you understand the philosophy and help us support your children in learning how to use technology in meaningful and safe ways.
As parents, we need to take an active role in our children's technology use. We can do this by talking to our children about their use of technology. NIS’s Technology Philosophy can be used to assist you in speaking to your children about their use of technology. To begin the conversation consider the following questions?
Be Kind. Ask:
- Have I thought about how my actions will affect others?
- Am I using digital technology in a responsible and ethical manner?
Be Safe. Ask:
- Am I making appropriate choices with the information that I am sharing and consuming?
- Am I keeping myself and others safe?
Be Helpful. Ask:
- Am I using digital technology in a way that promotes positive, inclusive attitudes?
- Am I using digital technology to enhance my learning?
More information can be found on our website.
If you have any questions about our philosophy or would like to talk about parenting in the digital age please reach out to us.
The NIS IT Support Team
Tech Help from the NIS IT Department
We realize that online learning can be stressful, especially if your technology isn’t working for you. You are not alone, we are here to assist you in any way we can! If you are having problems with your technology, we have several ways that you can get support.
- Go to our NIS Tech Help Website.
- Browse the many articles and other helpful links available.
- Submit a request for assistance.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (please put NIS Parent in the subject heading) and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
We hope that these two options will assist you in getting the technology support you need.
The NIS IT Support Team