Information Technology Update – June 22, 2017

June 21, 2017

Scam Watch

This week’s episode of 4 Corners focussed on a number of important topics such as cyber scams and phishing. (Phishing usually comes in the form of emails which look like they are coming from a trustworthy source but are in fact coming from untrusted sites.) Unfortunately, while we all find the convenience of using the internet to complete many of our buying and financial transactions something we could not do without, there is always risk involved when putting our details online. Around the world there are highly organised criminal groups whose sole aim is to deceive users and retrieve their personal details with the purpose of fraudulently using those details for their personal gain. Sadly, many online users have been victims of cyber scams and phishing which can lead to the loss of funds and fraudulent use of their banking and credit card details. However, there are some simple practices we can employ to help reduce the risk of using the internet to shop and bank online. Some of these include:

  • If you have to use a card online to complete a transaction, never use a -‘Debit’ card when shopping online. These cards debit funds directly from your saving accounts making retrieval of funds in the case of fraud more difficult.

  • If you have to use a card online to complete a transaction, use a standard -‘Credit’ card issued by the bank. These are usually a VISA or Mastercard. These cards are essentially a line of credit from the bank making retrieval of funds in the case of fraud easier.

  • Using a third party payment vendor like PayPal is a good idea to complete online transactions. PayPal is a highly secure site and are quick to act and support you in the case of any fraudulent activity.

  • Never reply to an email that seems to be coming from a trustworthy site and is asking for your personal details. NO trustworthy site asks for you to send your personal details in an email. Contact the organisation that the emails appear to be coming from to alert them of the possible scam or phishing that is occurring.

  • If in doubt about a particular site or email, check the URL (Universal Resource Locator). E.g., the correct URL for the Commonwealth Bank is Often scammers and phishing emails appear to be from a trusted site but on close inspection of the URL it is nothing like the true URL of that organisation.

  • When checking the URL of a site, check that it is a site that uses Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. I would be very suspicious of any site I am planning to do a transaction with that does not use HTTPS.

  • Avoid responding to -‘dubious’ sites or emails on your phone as it is often difficult to easily check the URL from a sender on such a small screen. Wait until you can use a bigger screen on a tablet or computer where you can more easily check the authenticity of the URL.

  • Regularly check the -‘Trash’ or -‘Deleted’ folders on your emails. Often, scammers who have access to your email move emails they are using in a transaction to these types of folders to hide them from you.

Using the internet to complete transactions online has certainly made life easier for all of us but it does not come without risk as have discussed here. For more information, an excellent Australian Government website to regularly lookup is the Scamwatch website. Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams. You can access Scamwatch here

iPad Neoprene Sleeves distributed to Year 7 Students

I received an update from our Vendor CompNow on the replacement neoprene sleeves. While the replacement sleeves have arrived in Australia and CompNow have been invoiced for them they still have not received them. Unfortunately, this is causing CompNow and us great inconvenience and CompNow are actively chasing up. I am in regular contact with CompNow and they have promised to let me know as soon as the situation is resolved. The replacements sleeves will be distributed to the boys as soon as they are available.

Microsoft Schools Program

St Patrick’s College is pleased to now be a Microsoft Schools Programs Member. Microsfort Schools Programs are global communities of schools engaged in digital transformation to improve learning outcomes and student achievement. Microsoft School programs emphasize personalized learning for their students through the use of 1:1 learning devices and learning with current technology.

Mark Holland

Director of ICT