Over the past several weeks, there has been a significant increase in phishing attempts targeting SMU email addresses. In many of these cases, the messages masquerade as important documents requiring your attention either via Concur, DocuSign, or Adobe. Before you click on the link or open the attachment, here are some recommendations to help determine if the email is legitimate or a phishing attempt: Continue reading Important notice about the recent increase in phishing attempts
In the past two days, two widespread phishing e-mails have been arriving in mailboxes across campus. Make sure to protect yourself and your data and NEVER open any links or attachments in these emails! Below are examples of the reported phishing messages:
If you received either of these messages, delete them immediately! If you clicked on any of the links or attachments within the messages, reset your password immediately and call the IT Help Desk at 214-768-4357.
Phishing is a method of identity theft which requests confidential information such as usernames, account numbers, passwords, etc. by masquerading as a legitimate, trusted company. This term typically refers to attempts through email. However, this same type of attack can occur in person (social engineering) or over the phone (farming).
Phishing emails have become very sophisticated. It used to be that they were so poorly written that you could just rely on really bad grammar or spelling errors to determine their legitimacy. That is no longer the case. The emails can appear to come from trusted addresses and cleverly designed with graphics, disclaimers, etc. So how can you determine if an email is legitimate?
On Tuesday, July 2, SMU implemented a new feature as part of our anti-spam defense to rewrites web links considered questionable, included in inbound emails. The purpose of the rewrite is to prevent phishing and malware scams by forwarding certain web requests to a proxy service for analysis. While some benign links might be overwritten, the service protects against “zero-hour” exploits where the threat could be unknown. If a link is still considered suspect at the time it is clicked, the you will receive a prompt to either decline or proceed to the website in question.
The URL rewrite policy was recently adjusted on Thursday, July 7, and our team will continue to monitor the service to ensure that the policy is neither too lenient, nor too aggressive when rewriting the web links. Please contact the IT Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding this change.
Phishing attempts are email messages sent by hackers pretending to be your friends, coworkers, or trusted companies. These emails try to lure you to reveal your personal information, such as your passwords, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers, with alarmist sounding messages. Some may even direct you to an official-looking website requesting such information. These websites may also be infected with computer viruses or other forms of malicious software. Phishing messages have potential to damage our IT infrastructure and expose sensitive University data.
Due to the increased volume of recent phishing attempts, SMU’s Information Security Team is launching another round of the phishing awareness program, AntiPhish. This program will send simulated phishing emails, analyze how SMU employees respond to these messages, and track the success of employees in recognizing and deleting phishing emails. For those falling victim to the phishing attempts, the Information Security Team will offer training tools to help employees learn how to avoid falling victim to phishing messages. The phishing simulations will take place at SMU in the coming weeks.
As a reminder, if you receive any email message that appears malicious or asks for confidential personal information, Information Security asks that you do the following:
- Contact the IT Help Desk or your local IT Support group regarding the email.
- Delete the email from your mailbox without clicking on any hyperlinks or attachments.
For valuable resources and other information, please visit the Information Security website at www.smu.edu/OIT/Infosec.
If you have questions about the upcoming phishing simulation or training tools, please contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-4357 (HELP).
No. It’s not about fish doing Zumba.
Twice per year, SMU conducts a simulated phishing exercise where the University sends a simulated phishing message to employees based on the types of phishing messages we have most recently received. Last year, over 100 SMU accounts were compromised due to users falling victim to these attacks so we are committed to reducing our click through rate through user education and awareness. When we started the simulated phishing awareness campaigns in 2013, we saw a 40% click-through rate. In 2014, we reduced that click-through rate to 20%. In our first campaign of 2015 that number had dropped to just 10%.