Information Technology provides details on new phishing scam

SMU’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) discovered a new e-mail phishing attempt that was sent to several University community memmbers over the weekend of June 5-7, 2009.

Phishing is a common form of e-mail fraud in which perpetrators attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity such as a popular social website, auction site, online payment processor or IT administrator. Phishing e-mails often direct users to enter details at a fake website designed to look and feel almost exactly like the legitimate one.

OIT sent out the following information on June 8:

Several individuals received an e-mail this weekend indicating their webmail quota had been reached. The message asked individuals to send their email address, password, country and name to a non SMU email address. Please do not respond with your credentials. This was a phishing attempt and did not come from SMU. Remember, we will never ask you to provide your credentials. Please do not respond to any e-mail asking for your login information no matter how valid the email appears to be.

If you responded to the email, please go to the Online Password Reset tool and reset your password immediately (

Additional Details:

The e-mail contained the following characteristics indicating it was a phishing attempt:

  • In some cases, the From address is not an SMU address. Some messages were sent (in which) the From address was spoofed. However, most of these were trapped by the spam filter.
  • The To field was actually blank, indicating it was blind-copied (BCC) rather than addressed directly to an individual.
  • The e-mail requests that you send your credentials – and requests that you send them to a non-SMU e-mail address.

OIT is taking action to block any new responses to those addresses and to reduce the risk of this type of message making it through to your mailbox in the future.

If you have any additional questions or need assistance, please contact the OIT Help Desk at 8-4357.

By | 2009-06-09T09:49:10+00:00 June 9, 2009|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Human Resources provides absence guidelines for H1N1 outbreak

SMU continues to monitor the H1N1 flu (swine flu) situation. There are no known cases at SMU. The University’s Department of Human Resources has created a document to provide guidelines for employees and managers who may need to stay home due to personal or family illness, or if a child’s school or daycare facility closes due to H1N1 flu.

The guidelines include information on when and how long to stay home, working from home, and use of sick leave. The document also compiles several helpful links.

University employees who exhibit symptoms of H1N1 flu should contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-3333, as well as their personal health care providers for appointments and related information.

University resources:

SMU Health Center updates at
Human Resources guidelines for managing absences during an outbreak (PDF format)

Resources from Magellan, SMU’s Employee Assistance Program:

H1N1 Flu: Anxiety and Prevention
H1N1 Flu: Get Informed, Be Prepared

Local and federal resources:

Dallas County Health and Human Services: Influenza
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: H1N1 Flu

By | 2009-05-05T13:11:59+00:00 May 5, 2009|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |

H1N1 flu update from SMU Health Center: May 1, 2009

Megan Knapp, health educator in SMU’s Memorial Health Center, sent the following e-mail update to all University faculty, staff and students on Friday, May 1:

SMU is continuing to monitor the swine flu situation. As of Friday, May 1st, we have no known cases at SMU.

If you have a confirmed, probable or suspected case as determined by a health care professional, please notify SMU by calling 214-768-3333. We appreciate your cooperation on this matter.

For regularly updated information about swine flu, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. For SMU-specific information, visit SMU’s flu homepage or call SMU-Info (214-768-4636).

If cases of swine flu are detected, SMU is ready to implement preparedness plans. Visit the website or check your e-mail for updates.

By | 2009-05-01T16:14:00+00:00 May 1, 2009|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , , |

H1N1 flu update from SMU Health Center: May 1, 2009

As the 2008-09 flu season begins to wind down, confirmed cases of H1N1 flu, also known as swine flu, have sprung up in Texas. Megan Knapp, health educator in SMU’s Memorial Health Center, sent the following e-mail update to all University faculty, staff and students on Monday, April 27:

As many of you have heard, there are now confirmed cases of swine flu in Texas as well as in Mexico, California, Kansas and New York. Officials at SMU, along with those at Dallas County Health and Human Services, are monitoring the situation to detect any cases locally.

Due to population density and foreign travel, university communities are susceptible to the spread of communicable diseases. Please be vigilant regarding your personal hygiene and health habits.

To help prevent the flu:

Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces (door handles, railings, etc.).

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with either a disposable tissue or your sleeve.

Avoid contact with people who are sick.

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms (sudden fever/chills, cough, body aches, fatigue), it is important to see a medical provider as soon as possible. To be effective, antiviral medications should be started within 48 hours after symptoms begin. Persons who may have the flu should stay at home as much as possible to avoid spreading the illness.

Flu vaccines administered in fall 2008 and winter 2009 do not protect against H1N1 flu, and currently, there is not a human vaccine for this illness.

For 24-hour medical advice, students can call SMU’s Health Center at 214-768-2141. Faculty and staff should contact their personal healthcare providers.

SMU will continue working with Dallas County Health and Human Services on this matter. For more information about swine flu, please visit the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s H1N1 flu site.

By | 2009-04-27T15:37:42+00:00 April 27, 2009|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

SAE fraternity placed on deferred suspension

After two years of investigation into the tragic death of Jacob Stiles on Dec. 2, 2006, in the SAE fraternity house, SMU has concluded that the use of illegal drugs by members of the fraternity was not isolated to the student who died. Statements made by several SAE members indicate there was drug use by additional fraternity members in the SAE house or as part of fraternity activities. In addition, following the death, some members of the fraternity did not fully cooperate or were not forthcoming with SMU officials, and such actions have hampered efforts to investigate this tragedy.

“In considering these findings, we are immediately placing the SAE fraternity on deferred suspension for the remainder of the 2009 Spring Semester and until Nov. 1, 2009, the equivalent of one semester in duration,” said Lori White, vice president for student affairs. “During this time, the fraternity may not hold any fraternity-sponsored social activities, with or without alcohol, on or off campus. This period will cause the fraternity to finish the current year and to get the following year underway in strict compliance with University guidelines. The fraternity may still participate in campus-sponsored philanthropic activities such as Relay for Life and the IFC Special Olympics.”

SMU has elected not to suspend the fraternity entirely from SMU since the majority of current members were not affiliated with SAE when the death occurred. “We also appreciate that the current membership recently has taken the initiative in volunteering to work with the Dean of Student Life and the SMU Center for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention to develop proactive strategies for drug and alcohol abuse prevention and intervention,” White said.

Fraternity members were informed of the University’s decision at its chapter meeting April 6.


– The fraternity must work with the SMU Center for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention to arrange for all SAE members to receive Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS) by Health Communications, Inc., at the fraternity’s expense.

– The fraternity must participate in a community service project with an organization focused on substance abuse prevention and education, and approved by the Dean of Student Life. At least 90% of the fraternity members must participate.

– The fraternity is fined $5,000, which will be remitted to the University’s drug and alcohol education and prevention fund in support of campus-wide substance abuse awareness programming.

If the fraternity does not comply with the requirements outlined above, or commits violations of the Student Code of Conduct during the term of its deferred suspension, the fraternity will be subject to suspension from SMU.

White has reminded members of the fraternity that, in response to recommendations of the President’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention, SMU has developed additional tools to identify students who are at risk and to enable students, faculty and staff to refer these students to campus counseling and other support services.

“In addition, we encourage students to call for help for themselves or for a fellow student, without penalty, through the Good Samaritan and Medical Amnesty programs. We urge the members of the fraternity to work closely with the Dean of Student Life Office if they identify students who may be at risk so that we can respond appropriately.”

White concluded: “SMU is committed to helping students make responsible lifestyle choices. We view the action regarding the fraternity as an opportunity for SAE to lead by example as a student organization with a long history of involvement and service at the University.”

University statement regarding handguns on campus

SMU’s position regarding proposed legislation that would allow concealed-weapons on university campuses:

“SMU has a long tradition as a weapons-free campus. We have serious concerns about allowing concealed weapons on a university campus. The university frequently hosts events for academic and recreational purposes with large numbers of children in attendance.

“While the intent of HB 1893 is laudable, we believe passage of this legislation will have unintended consequences that cause greater risk to law enforcement and members of the university community.”

Read more about House Bill 1893 from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram

By | 2009-04-06T11:00:06+00:00 April 6, 2009|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Breaking for service, traveling with care

SMU Alternative Spring Break in Taos, 2008As Spring Break 2009 approaches, SMU encourages all students, faculty and staff to heed U.S. Department of State travel warnings. Information about travel warnings, including specific information about trips to Mexico, can be found at

Meanwhile, several SMU students are spending their March hiatus building homes, preserving natural resources and delivering meals across the United States as part of 2009 Alternative Spring Break.

Led by SMU’s campus community service organization SPARC (Students Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Citizenship) and Office of Leadership and Community Involvement (LCI), students will work with community agencies including:

Learn more about this year’s trips at SMU’s Alternative Spring Break website. (Above, a photo of students participating in the 2008 Alternative Spring Break in Taos, posted at SMU’s Student Adventures website.)

Visit the SPARC website
Visit the LCI website
Read the U.S. State Department travel alert for Mexico

ITS offers information, training for Security Awareness Month

Originally published Oct. 21, 2008.

SMU ITS Information Security logoIn observance of Security Awareness Month, SMU Information Technology Services (ITS) is offering brown-bag information sessions and online training concerning security topics and new services.

The next lunchtime session is scheduled for 12:30-1:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in Room 108, Blanton Student Services Building. ITS personnel will discuss spam, phishing and e-mail security, as well as introduce 4 online services:

  •, a Web-based file storage system
  •, an editable Web content management tool
  •, a journaling system available for official, department and academic uses
  •, an online scheduling tool for resources such as conference, meeting and class rooms

In addition, ITS has created an online tutorial to help users learn more about protecting data and accounts from phishing, spam and other attacks.

Learn more about computer security and Security Awareness Month
Test your security IQ at the ITS Help site

Safety performers show ‘What To Do’

Safety skit comicsDo you know what to do in the event of an emergency inside or near a campus building? A group of SMU performers, acting out on the Main Quad Oct. 1, used comedy to demonstrate the four steps required by students, faculty and staff during an evacuation:

  • Leave the building (don’t use elevators).
  • Assist the disabled.
  • Take valuables and cell phones with you.
  • Proceed to an assembly area outside.

Launched as part of the SMU Aware emergency preparedness program, skits will be performed several times throughout this academic year. In addition to evacuation, they will address situations that involve lockdown and shelter in place.

“In addition to the training drills we hold on campus every year, we’re presenting students crucial information in an interactive style to gain their attention,” says Lee Arning, director of emergency preparedness. “We hope to impress upon them the importance to ‘Know What to Do’ on campus. This way, they will not only be prepared for crises, but ideally will take ownership during potential situations.”

More about emergency preparedness at the SMU Aware website

By | 2008-10-15T12:34:05+00:00 October 15, 2008|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Library staffers help law enforcement identify assault suspect

Two Fondren Library Center staff members have been commended by the SMU Police Department for helping to identify a suspect in a campus assault case.

Cindy Gautreaux, Public Services, and Joel Eatmon, Collection Development and Management, each received an SMU PD Crimebuster Award for their assistance. Read more.


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