Deerfield has stepped up efforts to protect students from phishing. As an email about the topic to the Deerfield faculty explained, phishing “is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication channels.”
“We’re worried about phishing because [it] is really on the uprise right now,” said Director of Information and Technology Services Kimberley Butz.
The issue of cyber-security at Deerfield extends beyond phishing, though, and ITS aims to help students protect themselves and their devices.
“[The school uses] Palo ALTo firewall technology, one of the leading providers in the world for networking technology,” Ms. Butz explained. “All of [Deerfield’s] networking traffic either coming in or going out to the internet, and most of the traffic going around campus as well, goes through those firewalls.”
The system was incorporated eighteen months ago and updates several times a day. It will likely continue to be used for the next three to four years.
Since the majority of Deerfield systems use the same account, this protection is necessary. Banking or health information are the only things that are not stored on the system, as the financial office and health center use a different, more secure system. Ms. Butz also said that there is higher protection for certain faculty, implemented through both software and hardware.
She said that the staff with the highest level of access do not use Macs, they use Windows machines. She said, ”It is actually a little bit easier to control the security that way.” The documents of these staff members are also encrypted.
DAInfo went through a change recently, in response to the concern for protection. Previously, there was the option for people with access to DAInfo to download and print out the student roster, which could then be shared separately. The feature was removed this year to protect students’ information.
“[We’re] constantly reviewing what people have access to and weighing the balance of what people need to know versus what they would like to know,” said Ms. Butz.
Ms. Butz added that she would like to ask students how much information they believe should be shared on DAInfo. She said, “If there are students who think we are sharing more than we should be, I’d … like to hear that.”
Ms. Butz gave some final pieces of advice on how to protect yourself: “Make sure you have a complex password …change your password frequently as is reasonable… never let anyone else, including parents, use your account…stay really alert for phishing messages, [and] be careful of what you share on social media.”