District CIO: No phishing allowed


Facing an increase in phishing attacks, Campbell County Public Schools in Virginia moved away from a popular practice. To deter hackers, the IT team deleted the email addresses listed on the district website’s staff directory.

“We have 1,200 to 1,400 email addresses we need to protect, as well as our 8,000 students’ medical, legal, parental and/or court system information,” says Mark Slusher, director of instructional technology. “We need to protect their electronic attributes as well as their physical beings.”

Despite advanced protection software, hackers around the world continue to have success breaking into school, corporate and other networks by sending phishing emails to employee addresses, says Slusher. To prevent this, the district began funneling and scanning emails through one address in November 2018. 

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Teachers and administrators now communicate with parents through the student information system, the parent portal and direct emails.

Response time can take up to 48 hours depending on the urgency of the issue. To ensure efficient response time, correspondence is forwarded to multiple parties. For example, a bus transportation question regarding an individual child would be handled quickly. 

“We are using a low-tech approach to a high-tech problem,” Slusher says.

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