Home India News Cheap Flights Hotel Booking Shopping Deals Web Hosting Education Pdf Books Test Series Filmybaap Contact Us Advertise More From Zordo

Teachers got an appreciation email from Fairfax Schools. It was a phishing test.

11 months ago 236



As students settled in for the last day of school Friday in Fairfax County, teachers around the school system opened their inboxes to an unexpected email.

It seemed kind. The email was seemingly sent from the school district — complete with a Fairfax County Public Schools logo — thanking employees for their work and offering gift cards as a sign of appreciation.

“Fairfax County Public Schools and Company Rewards™ have partnered to provide gift cards to our employees as a thank you for another successful school year,” the email read with a link to redeem the gift.

But, teachers who clicked the link didn’t get a gift card.

They had just been phished — sort of.

The district’s IT department periodically sends out fake phishing emails to test teachers and staff as a cybersecurity measure. It’s a common practice for companies to avoid staff falling prey to phishing, a type of online scam where bad actors send emails posing as a real organization to trick recipients into clicking a link or attachment.

Staff on the receiving end of a test email are expected to flag the email as a phishing attempt. Those who flag the email will receive a response for correctly identifying the scam, and those who follow the link are redirected to additional cybersecurity information to avoid attacks in the future.

Some teachers in Fairfax found the contents of the email to be a bit insensitive. David Walrod, president of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, said the choice of language on the last day of school — when teachers are already tired — was not a good look.

“To get an email that looks like appreciation from the county, but is not appreciation from the county,” Walrod said. “Somebody did not think that through.”

Superintendent Michelle Reid sent an email apologizing for the test and thanking teachers and staff for their work, shortly after it was sent out. She said staff was directed to rescind the phishing emails.

“Let me offer my deepest apologies for the phishing email that went out earlier today,” Reid wrote. “While I understand the need for heightened cyber security, this morning’s message is unacceptable for a variety of reasons and on a number of levels, and should not have been sent.”

Leslie Houston, president of the Fairfax Education Association, another major teacher association in the county, said she believed the email was an accident that caught teachers off guard. Reid’s apology was helpful in easing frustrations.

“It was something definitely unfortunate that happened on the last day of school,” Houston said.

The school district, which serves more than 180,000 students and employs more than 24,000 people, was the target of a ransomware attack in 2020 that exposed the private information of teachers and students. The school district said at the time that it was taking steps to enhance cybersecurity and further harden defenses against attacks in the future.

Walrod said teachers were generally frustrated by the email, but also found a bit of humor in the situation, joking that people should have known the gift cards weren’t real.

“We know this one was real because they didn’t offer us anything,” Walrod said of Reid’s apology.

More on Virginia education

Read Entire Article