Friday, May 10, 2019

May 2019 Technology Update

HelpDesk: 49 requests opened. 48 requests closed. 1 open request.

To create a request, go to https://loganelm.gofmx.com
. If you are requesting new accounts or resetting passwords for students, please include their grade level and student number. Please note: I will maintain both Spiceworks and FMX until May 31, 2019. After that date, Spiceworks will be retired.

FMX: FMX is a facilities management program recently approved by the board of education. This program will be used for transportation requests, maintenance requests, planned maintenance, building schedule requests and technology requests. FMX is up and running. Currently, it is being used for transportation requests. Starting now, it can be used for technology requests. Below are instructions for accessing FMX.

1. Go to https://loganelm.gofmx.com. 2. There are 2 login boxes. Click on the "Log In with AD FS" gray box. 3. Enter your email address (first.last@loganelm.org) and your password that you use to access your email. Click on the "Create Request" button in the upper right corner and choose the type of request you need to add.

The site is very intuitive to use. If you have any questions or need assistance, click on the "Help & Updates" link in the bottom left. There are training videos and an FAQ.

I left this in from last month due to the low adoption rate of this product.

Server Maintenance at the LE Complex: The servers at the LE Complex will be taken offline on Monday, May 13 at 4:30pm so that I can upgrade the memory modules. The outage should not be longer than 10 minutes.

Infinite Campus: Our second upload of our student data to Infinite Campus occurred on May 3rd. I am in the process of adding accounts for everyone. This has taken longer than I expected. I hope to have it completed by May 17th. We have a "sandbox" where you can go in and "play" with our actual student data. If you change something, it will be overwritten in the final upload during the summer. The URL for the "sandbox" is https://conv38.infinitecampus.com/campus/logan_elm_conv1.jsp. I will be emailing a username and password for you to use. You will use these new credentials with the production server as well.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

March 2019 Technology Update

HelpDesk: 45 tickets opened. 44 tickets closed. 1 open ticket.

To create a request, go to https://loganelm.gofmx.com
. If you are requesting new accounts or resetting passwords for students, please include their grade level and student number. Please note: I will maintain both Spiceworks and FMX until May 31, 2019. After that date, Spiceworks will be retired.

FMX: FMX is a facilities management program recently approved by the board of education. This program will be used for transportation requests, maintenance requests, planned maintenance, building schedule requests and technology requests. FMX is up and running. Currently, it is being used for transportation requests. Starting now, it can be used for technology requests. Below are instructions for accessing FMX.

1. Go to https://loganelm.gofmx.com. 2. There are 2 login boxes. Click on the "Log In with AD FS" gray box. 3. Enter your email address (first.last@loganelm.org) and your password that you use to access your email. Click on the "Create Request" button in the upper right corner and choose the type of request you need to add.

The site is very intuitive to use. If you have any questions or need assistance, click on the "Help & Updates" link in the bottom left. There are training videos and an FAQ.

Chrome OS 70-71: Chromebooks and chromeboxes being used for testing need to be at Chrome OS version 70 or 71. Version 72 was just released, but we are holding our chromebooks at 71. An issue was found and patched for version 72, but if another issue is found, it is very difficult to go back a Chrome OS version. To find out which version of Chrome OS is being used, below are instructions.
1. Login to the chromebook. 2. Click on the time in the bottom right corner. 3. Click on the gear near the upper right corner of the box that pops up. 4. Click on the 3 lines near Settings and choose "About Chrome OS." 5. Underneath Google Chrome OS should be the version number. 

If it is not at 70 or 71, click on check for updates. If the chromebook or chromebox will not update, please enter a helpdesk ticket.

New Windows Domain: I have started moving computers over to the new domain at the high school and middle school. There are a few elementary computers on the new domain as well. I do not have any future calendar events, so I will be stopping by each classroom to complete the migrations. If your computer is in use, I will move on to the next classroom.

Windows 10: I am still in the process of upgrading desktop computers to Windows 10. My goal is to have every desktop on Windows 10 by the end of the school year.  I have 23 computers to go. There are some computers that will not be upgraded. They will be replaced over the summer.

Infinite Campus: Our first upload of our student data to Infinite Campus will take place on March 22nd. After the second upload on April 10, I will be attending a half day training session on adding users. Once this has been completed, we will have a "sandbox" where you can go in and "play" with our actual student data. If you change something, it will be overwritten in the final upload during the summer.

Email Scams (Phishing): Yesterday, ODE sent out the following message in their weekly update:

The Auditor of State's Office has received information that, over the last few weeks, several Ohio school districts have been victims of an email scam sometimes referred to as “CEO Fraud.” This targeted spear phishing attack uses familiarity to trick individuals into taking an action.
 
Each of the instances reported to the Auditor of State’s Office involves a cybercriminal impersonating the superintendent or a principal of a school district. In each case, an email was sent to a payroll department employee asking that a change be made to the bank account linked to the superintendent's or principal's direct deposit. The payroll deposit then is directed to the criminal. The scam is identified only after the impersonated employee realizes he or she did not get paid. These scams are especially effective because the staff member involved believes he or she is dealing directly with a district or school official who has the authority to make such a request.
 
The Auditor of State’s Office encourages districts to educate their staffs on this type of scam and be on the lookout for any such activity. The state auditor also encourages districts to:
  • Examine the procedures in place for making changes to an employee's payroll bank account; and
  • Consider taking verification steps outside of the email system before making such a change.
First and foremost, report all scams to the local police department and the FBI. If a district or school loses cash or assets because of such a scam, officials also should contact Ohio’s Fraud Hotline at (866) FRAUD-OH.

For our district, if you want to make changes to your direct deposit, it must be completed in person at the treasurer's office. Office hours are 8am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday.

Below is an email I received in my junk mail folder on Sunday. I have received reports from other staff members that have received it as well:

Hi!

As you may have noticed, I sent you an email from your account.
This means that I have full access to your account: At the time of hacking your account(john.rundag@loganelm.org) had this password: 69e566cd4a9eff29949e4a6d5

You can say: this is my, but old password!
Or: I can change my password at any time!

Of course! You will be right,
but the fact is that when you change the password, my malicious code every time saved a new one!

I've been watching you for a few months now.
But the fact is that you were infected with malware through an adult site that you visited.

If you are not familiar with this, I will explain.
Trojan Virus gives me full access and control over a computer or other device.
This means that I can see everything on your screen, turn on the camera and microphone, but you do not know about it.

I also have access to all your contacts and all your correspondence from e-mail and messangers.

Why your antivirus did not detect my malware?
Answer: My malware uses the driver, I update its signatures every 4 hours so that your antivirus is silent.

I made a video showing how you satisfy yourself in the left half of the screen, and in the right half you see the video that you watched.
With one click of the mouse, I can send this video to all your emails and contacts on social networks. I can also post access to all your e-mail correspondence and messengers that you use.

If you want to prevent this, transfer the amount of $748 to my bitcoin address (if you do not know how to do this, write to Google: "Buy Bitcoin").

My bitcoin address (BTC Wallet) is: 1B3Lx1t4CQSt3ck85bqzGHC9TeEQGANhUR

After receiving the payment, I will delete the video and you will never hear me again.
I give you 48 hours to pay.
I have a notice reading this letter, and the timer will work when you see this letter.

Filing a complaint somewhere does not make sense because this email cannot be tracked like my bitcoin address.
I do not make any mistakes.

If I find that you have shared this message with someone else, the video will be immediately distributed.

Bye!

It is easy to "spoof" email addresses, so I knew it wasn't real. The second giveaway was the password is incorrect. While I do use a lengthy password using uppercase, lowercase, numbers and special characters, it isn't even close to what I use. Third giveaway is I am confident there is no video of me and the only videos I watch are instructional in nature (webinars, videos on repairing chromebooks, etc). Last giveaway is even if everything in the email was true, I don't have $748 bitcoin to send. Sure, I could purchase bitcoin, but I don't have $2,870,427.56 in my bank account!

Bottom line: You have to scrutinize every email. It it doesn't seem right, it probably isn't. If you question something you receive, forward it to me. I will attempt to block the sender, but that doesn't stop them. They will hack into another email domain and continue their mission.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

February 2019 Technology Update

HelpDesk: 44 tickets opened. 33 tickets closed. 8 open tickets. 3 waiting tickets. Waiting tickets are those where I am waiting on a response from the person that entered the ticket.

To create a ticket, go to 
http://loganelm.org/helpdesk and fill out the form. If you are requesting new accounts or resetting passwords for students, please include their grade level and student number.

New Windows Domain: Forward Edge, the company that installed our new wired/wireless network, has created a new Windows domain for our Windows computers. I will start migrating computers to the domain very soon. To make the transition as smooth as possible, I have created calendar appointments through Calendly to collect domain passwords from high school/middle school teachers. Computers at other buildings use a generic logon, so I will not be sending the form to schools not on the main campus. This project is necessary due to the outdated operating systems on our servers, more storage, better analytics/security and an easy transition when we move into the new building.

Office 365 New Look for Outlook: Microsoft has updated the look of Outlook. If you want to change to the new look, click on the "Try the new Outlook" button in the upper right-hand corner. Personally, I like the new look. It gives you more options when you click on an email than the current look. If you don't like it, you can switch back.

Filtering: Securly is up and running on chromebooks. I will get it up and running on all Windows desktops and laptops by the end of the school year. BYOT devices will only be filtered on our network, not off-campus. If parents want filtering on their child's device(s), they should look into a service like OpenDNSCircle or another solution from their wireless provider. 

Windows 10: I am still in the process of upgrading desktop computers to Windows 10. My goal is to have every desktop on Windows 10 by the end of the school year. All laptops should be running Windows 10. If you know of a laptop that was missed (I found one over the winter break), please let me know. So far, 35 computers have been upgraded to Windows 10. I have 41 computers to go. There are some computers that will not be upgraded. They will be replaced over the summer.

Transfinder: In December of 2018, the board of education approved a new bus routing software package. Transfinder has many more feature than the outdated software (Edulog) we are currently using. At this time, I am setting up a server and Transfinder is importing our current routes. Our goal is to have the new software up and running before the start of 2019-2020 school year.

FMX: FMX is a facilities management program recently approved by the board of education. This program will be used for transportation requests, maintenance requests, planned maintenance, building schedule requests and technology requests. At the current time, I am working on an import file of all buildings, rooms, entrances and mechanical areas. Once everything is imported, we will begin to roll out services. We will start with transportation requests first. I will be moving the technology helpdesk to FMX and retire what we currently use. Even though Spiceworks is free, I want to make it easier on everyone by having one place to enter requests.

Twitter: I have created a Twitter account for the tech department. The URL is https://twitter.com/loganelmtech. I will post updates and use it to post outages, especially when email is not available.

Friday, January 4, 2019

January 2019 Technology Update

HelpDesk: 36 tickets opened. 29 tickets closed. 7 open tickets. To create a ticket, go to http://loganelm.org/helpdesk and fill out the form. If you are requesting new accounts or resetting passwords for students, please include their grade level and student number.

Servers: New servers were installed at Laurelville and Washington over the holiday break. This is the last server project until we move into the new building.

Filtering: META Piketon will no longer provide filtering beginning July 1, 2019. I am in the process of adding Securly as our filter. It is free for chromebooks, so I deployed it today. One advantage of using Securly is they provide filtering both on and off campus. I will need to install certificates on our Windows laptops/computers and iPads. Guest network devices will be filtered automatically.

Windows 10: I am in the process of upgrading desktop computers to Windows 10. I have temporary computers available while I am installing the software. In some cases, it will be easier for me to copy your files to a computer already running Windows 10. If there are specialized apps, I will need to perform an in-place upgrade. My goal is to have every desktop on Windows 10 by the end of the school year. All laptops should be running Windows 10. If you know of a laptop that was missed (I found one over the winter break), please let me know.

Twitter: I have created a Twitter account for the tech department. The URL is https://twitter.com/loganelmtech. I will post updates and use it to post outages, especially when email is not available.


Monday, December 3, 2018

December 2018 Technology Update

HelpDesk: 37 tickets opened. 34 tickets closed. 3 open tickets. To create a ticket, go to http://loganelm.org/helpdesk and fill out the form. If you are requesting new accounts or resetting passwords for students, please include their grade level and student number.

Wireless: There will be no changes to our current wireless configuration this year. Last month, I reported that we were going to make some changes beginning January 1. It turns out that we didn't have the licensing for it and it was going to cost $14,000. I do not see any return on the investment or other need that would warrant the cost.

Classroom Technology: With the passage of the bond levy, new classrooms will have new technology for instruction. There will be a budget per classroom and we will need to decide what gets installed. I have reached out to our building techs to attend sessions and speak to vendors at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference in February. It isn't too early to begin planning and seeing what is out there. I attended a meeting of central Ohio technology coordinators last week and this was a topic of discussion. The reason I am getting this out there now is that I have been asked many times over the past few weeks about this topic. We will have many meetings and discussions when the time comes and work diligently to find a solution that works best for the majority of teachers.
Over the next 4 years, we will need to obviously replace technology that has stopped working or where there is an immediate need. We will need to discern between "needs" and "wants". It doesn't make sense to purchase something now if it will be going to auction in 5 years. Please note that this only concerns instructional technology. This does not include computers, chromebooks or technology infrastructure. We will be able to move computers/laptops/chromebooks/document cameras and other devices to the new building. Existing projectors and interactive displays will go to auction or be recycled.

Monday, November 5, 2018

November 2018 Technology Update

HelpDesk: 64 tickets opened. 53 tickets closed. 11 open tickets. To create a ticket, go to http://loganelm.org/helpdesk and fill out the form. If you are requesting new accounts or resetting passwords for students, please include their grade level and student number.

Wireless: I had a 2.5 hour meeting a couple weeks ago with Extreme engineers concerning our wireless implementation. By January 1, we will be moving to one SSID. All chromebooks will be automatically provisioned and will be given high priority on bandwidth. All district-owned devices that are not chromebooks (laptops, iPads) will need to be manually assigned to high priority on bandwidth. All staff will be allowed 3 devices on the wireless network and will be given a good amount of bandwidth. Students (grades 7-12) will be allowed to have 3 devices as well, but not as much bandwidth. Guests will be given low priority on bandwidth. Our goal is to have staff and students authenticate to the wireless network so that we can track our Internet usage and bandwidth needs.

Filtering: META Piketon will no longer be providing Internet filtering, so we need to move to our own filtering solution. I am looking at Securly, which is free for chromebooks. We will need to pay for non-chrome devices, so I will be looking at phasing out Windows computers in some areas (media centers, some offices that do not need Windows applications).

Chromebook Repairs: I have seen a spike in chromebook repairs since we replaced the Acer C720 chromebooks with the HP chromebooks. I am puzzled by this, since the HP chromebook is more resistant to breakage than the older Acers we had. In areas where chromebooks are shared, please utilize a sign-out sheet to track chromebook usage and determine who was in possession at the time of the breakage. Most of the repairs are broken power plugs, broken screens and keys removed from the keyboards. A new power plug is $20, new screen is $60 and new keyboard is $80. If we continue at this pace, I will be spending $4000 in chromebook repairs that I did not anticipate in my budget.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Websites and email issues resolved

The issue with websites and email being inaccessible has been fixed. Our hosting provider removed our DNS records. I recreated the records and moved to new hosting providers.

Domain Name System (DNS) is the phonebook of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names, like nytimes.com or espn.com. Web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources. Each device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address which other machines use to find the device. DNS servers eliminate the need for humans to memorize IP addresses such as 192.168.1.1 (in IPv4), or more complex newer alphanumeric IP addresses such as 2400:cb00:2048:1::c629:d7a2 (in IPv6).

When our hosting provider deleted the DNS information, routers around the world didn't know where to send the traffic, which is why you received a "site not available" or Bluehost screen that the domain couldn't be found. I recreated the records with Bluehost. I created the same records with Microsoft and then put in a request to move DNS from Bluehost to Microsoft for the loganelm.org domain. Due to the size of the Internet, it takes 24-48 for servers around the world to get the new information. Currently, all records for the loganelm.org are resolving correctly, with the exception of an authoritative server in China. I'm not too concerned with China being able to access our website.

Loganelmschools.com is resolving to @loganelm.org. When you type it in a browser, it should appear as loganelm.org. The mail records for @loganelmschools.com are taking some time to resolve, but it should be working fine later today. There are some servers that are not getting the correct records, but it will resolved soon. I am not too concerned, since this isn't our primary email domain and students are out for Pumpkin Show break. Mail will eventually get delivered, just like the post office will keep trying if you have to sign for a package.

Salt Creek, Laurelville, Pickaway and Washington domains are resolving as they should. In the next couple weeks, I will be moving the DNS records from Bluehost to GoDaddy. I will do it on a Friday afternoon, so records have the weekend to resolve. It will not affect service, as both providers will have the same information.

It is recommended that you create bookmarks in your browser to our vital services (email, ProgressBook, etc) or create a free webpage and add links to the sites you use. You can create a free site with Google Sites, Blogger, Wix, Weebly or any of the other free website offerings. I sent an email to all staff with a Technology Fact Sheet. There are links to services that you can copy and paste. Below are links on how to create bookmarks in Internet Explorer, Edge, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. I would recommend either Chrome or Firefox, due to your bookmarks being available on multiple devices.
Internet Explorer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eL7941JDAtw
Edge: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4027306/windows-add-a-site-to-my-favorites-in-microsoft-edge
Firefox: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/bookmarks-firefox
Chrome: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/188842?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en
Safari: https://support.apple.com/guide/safari/bookmark-webpages-that-you-want-to-revisit-ibrw1039/mac