Password Management

You may have heard of the recent Facebook account compromised. Maybe you’ve received an email stating that your webcam shows….(we’ve had several people received these). That email may also list your user name and a password that you’ve actually used.

What does this mean to me?

Password management is an important issue and skill that you need to develop. Since there are people out there who would like to use this for their own gain (which can be stealing money, stealing your identity, or just making things difficult for you), you should proactively protect yourself.

What should I do?

In short, use a different password at every single site that you visit.

How do I do that?

There is no way that you could realistically remember that many different, complex passwords. I advise that you get a password manager.

What’s a Password manager?

A password manager is a program that, well, manages your password.

What are my options?

Here are a few choices (that I’ve used):

Other options (I don’t have any experience with these):

Which one should I get?

That’s really a personal preference. Most of these are a paid option/program. Some offer free options. (This is one of those things that I’m definitely willing to pay for.) You should check to make sure that your choice supports all the devices that you use. You should also check your use case. For example, some have free plans if you only use one device. (Personally, I use 1Password. I have paid for and used it for many years. Other team members use Passpack, Dashlane and Lastpass). The best ones allow you to enter your password in a browser extension and that fills in your password.

What about saving passwords in the browser?

We strongly advise AGAINST doing this. Saved passwords in a browser lack almost any security at all. The security standards aren’t nearly as robust for web browsers. If anyone gets any access to your computer while you are signed in, they would have access to everything.

Anything else I should do?

Yes, turn on 2 factor authentication wherever you can. Google offers 2 step authentication. So does Apple.

Gmail Interface

According to the latest schedule, as of October 16th, 2018, any users who’ve opted out of the new Gmail will be automatically migrated to the new experience.

They won’t be able to opt out after that date. Users who’ve already transitioned to the new Gmail will lose the ability to opt out as well.

I’m reminded of the adage that the only one who likes change is a wet baby.

So, why is Gmail changing?

  1. Increased security
  2. Updated code
  3. Better integration with other tools

Personally, I like the new interface. It provides some good tools to increase efficiency. However, I understand that not everyone feels the same way. Increasing security is an extremely important consideration at this point of the Internet development. You can choose to switch back and forth between the versions until October 16th. Then, the decision on which to use will be easy smile.png.

Gmail Interface

Google has “helpfully” switched everyone over to the new Gmail interface. While we really, really like the new interface, we understand that some may prefer the older interface. At this point, you can still switch back by using the setting menu. According to the release calendar, as of October 16th, everyone will be switched to the new interface permanently.

Some of the features that we really like about the new interface:

  • access to Calendar on a side panel
  • access to Tasks on a side panel
  • Smart replies
  • cleaner interface
  • Display density (more control over how much space email takes up)
  • Follow up reminder


WordPress App

For a long time, we’ve noted how nice it is to use the WordPress app to post to blogs. Sadly, because of bad actors and security concerns, we can no longer use the app. There is an issue in how the WordPress app integrates with a WordPress web site that allows for massive attacks.

So, for now, we have to block the WordPress app integration.

We hope that with updates, WordPress app integration can be restored. If it is, we will certainly let you know.

For now, all users will need to sign in through a browser in order to post to iBlog.


It is with great joy that we celebrate the return of Bob Harrison his role as a Tech Coach. Bob brings such great gifts the teaching and learning process. He has reached so many students through his Tech Coach role. Now, he’s back. One of the tenets of our team is try things out. If absolutely everything works out easily, we aren’t stretching enough. This is hard for all. I am extremely thrived that I get the opportunity to work with someone like Bob. He has stretched and found one thing that isn’t for him. (You can head over his Tech Coach Blog post to read his perspective).

Bob brings his passion, skills, gifts, and drive back to the Tech Coach role. Join us in a happy dance! Join us in our celebration! Join us in our Joy! Most of all, join us in challenging Bob to help students learn.

Phishing Season

Happy ALMOST Back to School.
​We (and other school districts) are seeing an increase in phishing ​activity.
Phishing is the practice of sending out emails that purport to be from a legitimate, reputable company in order to get users to reveal sensitive information (such as passwords and credit card numbers). 
​We recently deleted a couple of emails received by thousands of Dearborn Public Schools members that were phishing attacks. Unfortunately, a couple of users clicked on the links and entered their information.
Protecting your user name and password is critical to the security and safety of our district. Many users have access to very sensitive data.

Tips for spotting a phishing attack:

  • Do you know the sender? Although it is easy to fake the return email address, you should still check to see if you know the account.
  • Does the language seem appropriate for the person?
  • Does something just seem “funny” about the email?
  • Hover your mouse (if on a computer) over the link without clicking on it. It should reveal the URL of where it is actually going. (So, if it supposed to be sending you to Apple, but the URL is, that isn’t right).
  • Be wary of links in emails: Type links into the Location bar in your browser instead of clicking on the link in an email.
  • There is some kind of threat or urgent request in the message.

Here is a Phishing Flyer with tips (reposted from a couple years ago).

Securing your accounts

There are several things that you can do to make your account more secure:

  • Be careful on clicking links in email
  • Use a passphrase manager – (this allows you to have a unique password for every site you visit) (Note that most of these are not free). 
  • Turn on 2 Factor Authentication – this will require you to receive a text message or use a known device as an extra step to log in. This means that if someone does know your passphrase, they still can’t sign into your account without that device. 
  • Be very cautious about where you are entering your user name and passphrase.
*This impacts personal as well as work email.
So, how do PHISHERS get your email? There are a couple of ways:
  • from the address book of someone who has had their account phished
  • from breaches of online services
Please note that there have been many breaches of information. Here are a few:
  • Facebook
  • EquiFax – one of the sites that provides credit reports
  • Macy’s
  • Addidas
  • Sears
  • Kmart
  • Delta
  • Best Buy
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Lord & Taylor
  • MyFitnessPal App
  • Panera
  • Forever 21
  • Sonic
  • Whole Foods
  • PumpUp (Fitness App)
  • And more….
Your user name and password to a variety of sites may be available to people with bad intent. The breaches above may have revealed not only your email address (which can be used in future attempts), but also your password to that account. Since many people use the same password over and over, this means that bad guys may have access to other accounts. For example, if uses the password mydogsname for their MyFitnessPal app (which was previously hacked), they may also use that same combination for Amazon. Bad guys will attempt to use that combination on Amazon. Now the bad guys can order from Amazon and will receive the bills.
How can you tell if your email has been breached?
Have I been pwned is a web site where you can enter an email address to see if it is available to phishers.

New Google Log in screen

Those eagle eye users will notice a difference in the Google Log in page over the next couple of weeks. No need to worry, it is planned and legitimate.

Currently, the log in box looks like this:

Current Google log in box

Soon, it will look like this:

New Google Log in box.

Some of the changes will include tweaks to the Google logo, an outline around the text field, and center alignment of all items on the screen.

iLearn Question Tagging

Standards disclosed in the tag section.

We are excited to offer the ability to tag your Quiz questions in iLearn with Common Core Standards. The standards (Language Arts, Math and Science) are available under Tags in each question. You can either scroll to find the one that you want (there are an awful lot of them), or enter part of the standard (to filter) and then select. This will allow you to create quizzes with certain standards. This will also allow us to better create questions that are identified as meeting certain standards.

Standards disclosed in the tag section.

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