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D93 staff accounts compromised through a phishing scam

The staff accounts of Bonneville Joint School District 93 were compromised by the scammers through a phishing scam. The school is now recovering from the attack. Gordon Howard, D93's Technology and Safe Schools Director, said that phishing scams have become very frequent feature and a concern from the past two months, and it appears that the educational institutions are getting targeted more.

Howard comments that, "this is an issue nationwide, our district is not unique. They weren't after us. They send these out en masse to public schools ".

Howard further added that the scammers are sending emails, which look genuine to staff and educators around the school district. As a few accounts were breached by the scammers in the process, thus the district started investigation to find out whether any other accounts were also compromised.

Howard also says that, "we're in the process of making sure that they're secure again. Anytime these kinds of scams happen they're after money ".

Howard says in the case of D93, the scammers have attempted to convince the users so that they send them the credentials, such as usernames and passwords. Once the scammers received these credentials, they will be able to log into those user accounts. He added that, "they're not targeting any one individual, but as soon as they get someone to respond, then they focus on that individual or organization ".

He further added that the emails are designed in such a way that they appear to have come from the principal or somebody at the district level.

He further revealed that the most harmful emails are the ones that ask the user to download document, and to do so, one has to insert the username and password at the appropriate place. "You put in your username and password and what (the scammer) does then is "siphon" it off and they now have that person's username and password ," he said.

The administration has talked to the school resource officers. They are working with a private investigation group on the issue. Howard said, that the maximum which can be done in this case is reporting the information to Attorney General of Idaho, after which, the information will get transferred to FBI.

Howard adds that the best way with which these kinds of scams can be avoided is through giving training to the educators how to identify them. He said, "Look at those emails closely, scrutinize them. Don't ever give away personal information. You just have to be really vigilant and double check ".

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