Phishing Background

Phishing Email Simulations Return After Hiatus

AnitPhish (Anti-Phishing Campaign)Phishing attempts—those pesky emails that try to lure you into revealing personal info like passwords and financial information—are constantly evolving to thwart the University’s effort to stop them. While users only receive a small percentage of these emails in their inboxes, it takes one wrong click to start off a chain of new attempts.

For several years, SMU has worked to make our community more aware of these phishing attempts by sending simulated phishing emails. While we all have had to pivot and change our routines over the past couple of years, it was decided it was best not to add one more thing to everyone’s plate, so we took a break from the simulation. Yet, with the recent influx of successful phishing messages, the OIT Information Security Team will relaunch the simulated phishing email campaign in the coming weeks.

For those that fall victim to the simulated phishing attempts, the Information Security Team will offer training tools to help you learn how to avoid getting tricked by phishing messages. The success of this Anti-Phish awareness program has been huge, with clicks on simulated messages reduced from 43% of the SMU community to only 3%, with all of us becoming more aware of signs of a phishing attempt and how to stop it.

As a reminder, if you receive an email message that appears malicious or asks for confidential personal information, Information Security asks that you do the following:

  • Delete the email from your mailbox without clicking on any hyperlinks or attachments, if you know it is a phishing attempt.
  • If you have questions about an email, contact the IT Help Desk to verify the legitimacy of the message.
  • Please get in touch with the IT Help Desk immediately if you did respond to the message and provide any Personal Identifiable Information (PII) or details about your SMU credentials.

For valuable resources and other information, please visit the Information Security website at

If you have questions about the upcoming phishing simulation or training tools, please contact the IT Help Desk at 214-768-4357 (HELP).

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Ian Aberle

Ian Aberle is an Adobe Creative Educator and the Senior IT Communications Specialist & Trainer for the Office of Information Technology (OIT). For over 25 years, he has helped the SMU community use technology and implement digital and web media through multiple roles with the Digital Commons, SMU STAR Program, and now OIT. Ian enjoys photography and road trips with his family in his free time.