Tech Notes - October 2017

KnowBe4, iOS 11, Sierra update, etc

Phishing Expedition

What is phishing?

Phishing is a term for malicious e-mail. It may attempt to disguise the sender or purpose of a message, or to entice someone to click a link in the message that might cause harmful software to be installed or to collect information about the person.

What are we doing about it?

The district recently subscribed to a service called KnowBe4. What this service primarily does is provide a system for training staff in avoiding e-mail phishing attempts.

Here is the plan on how we will use this service:

  • In the next few weeks, you may receive one or more e-mails that will be phishing attempts sent by the system.
  • If you detect and delete that e-mail, great! No further action will be needed.
  • If you happen to click on a link within the e-mail or provide information to the sender, the system will note that action.
  • Anyone who clicks on a link will be offered a brief phishing training course (optional) to watch.

All staff will also have the opportunity to occasionally watch brief training videos about how to identify and avoid phishing and other e-mail scams.

Why is this necessary?

In the past 2 years, we have seen numerous phishing incidents, including:

  • Ransomware that rendered a staff computer useless. (Ransomware is software that effectively holds your files hostage, forcing you to pay someone for access to those files).
  • Various phishing e-mails, including the "shared google doc" fiasco last spring.
  • Several spear-phishing attempts (targeted attacks) which attempted to solicit financial records from district staff.

Using a service like this to ensure that all of our staff have some practice dealing with potentially destructive e-mails is the sensible option right now and arguably long overdue.

You'll find some documents below that provide a review of best practices for e-mail use and some red flags to look for to avoid malicious e-mails.

iPad iOS 11 Notes

The latest iPad operating system, version 11, was recently released for iPads.

Many of the new features are covered in the article linked above. Most of that is good news, but there are a few potential negatives to be aware of:

App Compatibility Issues: iOS 11 will break some older apps. To view the list of incompatible apps,go to the Settings screen, then go through the menus to select General > About > Applications. There, you should see a list of apps on your device that will not be compatible with iOS 11. Note that there is nothing we can do if an app is no longer compatible; either the publisher releases an updated version to fix it (which would be automatically updated in our self service app catalogue), or they don't. It is recommended that you work with DLC staff to find alternatives for apps that are no longer compatible.

Older Devices: iPad model 4 (and earlier) will not work with iOS 11. The largest group of devices affected by this is kindergarten classroom carts. There are a few model 3 and 4 iPads still in use by staff. If you have an older model, the upgrade simply will not be available to you. The kindergarten carts are scheduled for a refresh next school year.


High School Expansion

Here is the current status for tech in new spaces at the high school:

  • Installation of networking equipment and wireless access points is completed.
  • Phones are basically done.
  • Most TVs have been installed.
  • Apple TVs configured and just waiting on cables we need for installation.
  • Installation of systems that include wall mounted HDMI and VGA input options, controls for the system, and ceiling speakers continues; will be followed by electrical work to power those systems.

We are getting these projects done as quickly as the circumstances allowed. Thanks for your patience as we get everything up and running.

Staff Share Notes

A recent update to the Nomad software (the triangle icon with the checkmark in the toolbar at the top of the MacBook screen) includes drive shortcuts for "Home Network Drive"and "Staff Share" as shown below. Note that these share drives are only available when you are on-site (on SabersWireless network).

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macOS Upgrade Available - SIERRA

The upgrade to move from the mac operating system "El Capitan" to "Sierra" is now available in Self Service.
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A more detailed set of notes for running this upgrade can be found here. If you are not sure which version of macOS you are on, click the little Apple icon at the top left of your screen and choose "About This Mac" from the drop down menu; a window will pop up and show which version is currently installed.
Printing "Hold for Authentication" notes

We continue to work on finding a permanent fix for this issue, but the notes here resolve the problem (at least temporarily) for the majority of staff.


Updated chart with Instructional Technology staffing.
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