Thursday, December 11, 2014

District Email Status, Malware, and Spam

[Final Update 12-11-4 1:41 p.m.]  Our systems administrator, Tim Miller, is reporting the new email server has returned to stable operation.  We will finish working with the groups mentioned below to make certain their email accounts on computers and mobile devices are working as expected.  Beginning Friday or next Monday, the remainder of staff email accounts will be moved to the new server.  Watch for an email with information and specific instructions related to this move.

[Update 12-11-14 11:55 a.m.] The new email server is up and email is sending/receiving but I'm not quite ready to declare that it is stable.  

Email

The migration of email accounts began this week from the old email server to a new one.  During the most recent migration group yesterday (Wednesday), the new server became nonoperational.  Tim, the systems admin, is working with consulting engineers to remedy.  But the new email service is still not functioning.  We are being told by the engineers that the error messages being shown are "known issues" and a patch is available which Tim and the engineers will be applying today.   As a result, certain groups of district staff do not have district email service today.  Voicemail for these people will not be functioning as well since that service uses the email server to store messages.These groups are:
  • All the tech department (except the Tiger Tech Help Request system)
  • All Central Office staff
  • All building administrators
  • Library Media Specialists
  • Instructional Coaches
 Everyone else still have email accounts on the old server and are still functioning. Note that the help@estigers.k12.mo.us email account is still on the old server and functioning.  Technology help requests are still being received and processed.

 Workaround

Many of the members of these groups have Google Apps email (i.e. Google gmail accounts).  These email accounts are of the format xxxx@ga.essd40.com where xxxx is the username from the district email account.  For example, if George Gershwin were a staff member whose district email account was ggershwin@estigers.k12.mo.us then his Google Apps email would be ggershiwn@ga.essd40.com.  Check with the person to which you are trying to email to verify that he or she has access to this Google App email account. 
Malware Attacks and Email File Attachments

Both of the malware attacks this week have entered by a *.zip file attachment to email.  I am authorizing the quarantining of all received and sent emails that contain a *.zip or *.exe attachment in an attempt to prevent future attacks.  If you know that someone is sending you a legitimate file with these extensions, ask the sender to post the file to a cloud storage server from which you can download it.  
Spam

This week's adventure with malware is the perfect opportunity to think about some easy guidelines about unwanted email.

  • Never open an attachment in any suspicious email, even if the email is from a trusted source.
  • Spam is any unwanted email.  In general, you do not need to report to the tech department that you are receiving spam.   Add the sender to the junk email sender list and delete it.  
  • Spam sneaks past any email spam filters when it is addressed to a legitimate email address which was the case with this week's malware attack.
  • DO report to the tech department if you have opened a suspicious attachment.  Send your information to help@estigers.k12.mo.us, not to an individual tech department member. 
   

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