Media Center staff warns of potential threats in external emails


Jordan Rogers

Following a recent update to student’s school emails, messages outside of the Columbia Public Schools (CPS) Community will be flagged as an external message. The update comes after an observed increase in scams and virus’ downloaded to students computers.
The new implementation was first tested by the Technology Services Departement, leading to an overall positive response, according to an email informing staff about the update.
Communications specialist of the CPS Tech Services Department Scott Dean, believes the update will be directed towards CPS students, who are at a greater risk of phishing scams.
“Technology Services had heard reports from other school districts of ever-increasing phishing attempts directed at their network,” Dean said. “Additionally, K-12 students are fast becoming a target for phishing scammers on the Internet. The District Technology Committee agreed to these changes as a way to limit the danger to our students and teachers, as well as our network, that these sorts of emails pose.”
The update-which debuted on January fourth-will add more protection to the already implemented firewall, which filters out numerous malicious emails on a daily basis.
“A modification will flag external emails that are delivered to your inbox as coming from outside of the CPS email network — the subject of the message will have [External] added at the beginning,” Dean said.
Dean adds, below the content of the message, the following footer will be added:
CAUTION: This email originated from outside the organization. Do not click links or open attachments unless you recognize the sender and know the content is safe.”
While the new update implemented by CPS will serve as extra protection to students against phishing emails, and viruses, Dean thinks students should always be safe while checking their emails.
“Students and teachers can protect themselves from viruses and scams by always remaining alert,” Dean said. “Keep in mind that no reputable organization will ask for you to provide your username and password through an email, nor will they send you an unsolicited email to provide that information. More information can be found at this CPS website. ”