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Nov 30
Ali Maroufi : Safe Shopping Practices

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The shopping season is upon us and with the growth in the popularity of online shopping, the SDCOE Cybersecurity team recognizes the need to talk about e-commerce and what we should be aware of while shopping online. If you are going to get the best out of your online shopping activities without falling prey to criminals, you will need to take a few precautions.


The common security features of an e-commerce site are: the inclusion of SSL certificates which is indicated by a closed lock on your browser near the address bar and a URL which starts with HTTPS.  In addition, the website should comply with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards.

Criminals often create sites that are the exact duplicates of your favorite ecommerce sites and use SEO tricks and techniques to get you to their site where you will type your username and password to purchase items. Even though search engines are very useful when you are looking for products, there is always the risk of clicking on a malicious site. Instead of just clicking a link to your selected retailer's website, it is much safer to type the URL into the address bar of your browser. Lots of credit card companies will issue a temporary credit card number for their customers.  These cards can be useful for a one-time purchase. Finally, it is best to use a dedicated computer system for online banking and shopping when possible.

Oct 31
Ali Maroufi: SDCOE Cybersecurity Reaches A Major Milestone

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Karen Connaghan, Assistant Superintendent and CTO of San Diego County Office of Education, started talking about cybersecurity almost three years ago. I began researching and familiarizing myself with cybersecurity, especially related to coding practices.


In October 2016, Karen was given the approval to create a Cybersecurity team and we used National Cybersecurity Aware Month to kick-off the formation of the team. Since then, we have created many services for all districts to use.


A short list of the services that we provide are as follows:


Awareness: At the heart of our awareness outreach are the presentations and demos that we provide on topics such as cybersecurity, data privacy, and even social media safety. To keep the message going, we create monthly flyers and articles which are available to the districts for their own awareness campaigns.


Procedures: Through our own implementation process at SDCOE, we've been able to craft procedures that are readable and informative to those who are asked to follow them. By offering these procedures to other educational organizations in the county, we are hopeful that they will be able to customize and implement their own versions in a shorter duration.


Training: By providing informative "How-To" resource documentation, we're working to empower those that we support to further share the CyberAware message. At this point, we are also working towards more training opportunities such as a Train-the-Trainer Program for our End-User Awareness Presentations as well as a catalog of technical training events.


Vulnerability Assessment: The Cybersecurity Analysts on our team, Ed Kipp and Vong Sopha, support SDCOE through our Vulnerability Management Program. They've taken their technical knowledge and practice experience and we now offering their assessment services to districts within San Diego County.


We are very excited about the services already in place as well as those that are coming in the year ahead. Stay connected through the Cyber Guru eNewsletter to hear how our program continues to grow.