New gift card phishing scam using fake supervisor email addresses

As we begin the Spring semester, we would like to remind you to be diligent in watching for phishing emails. Over the last several weeks, OIT has been notified by a number of faculty and staff members who have received messages that appear to come from supervisors. The email will urgently request that the individual purchase a gift card (Walmart, iTunes, etc.). The emails have used an external email address like supervisors.name@gmail.com instead of their SMU email address.

The phisher will request that the gift card numbers and pin need to be emailed or texted to the supervisor. These scammers do their research to get the name of the boss and details of his/her employees. Tracing their source is very difficult.

Don’t be fooled!

Below is the sample email exchange in chronological order. Never comply with a request like this and always confirm either in person or with a phone call with the supervisor to make sure this is not a scam. In the example exchange below, Sally ABC is the chair of the Alternative History department of “univ.edu” and was spoofed by the bad guys. Dave XYZ is Sally ABC’s personal assistant.

From: Sally ABC<sally.abc@gmail.com>
To: Dave XYZ <dxyz@univ.edu>
Subject: Respond
There is something I need you to do. Can you get this done ASAP? I need couple of Walmart gift cards (worth $100) for some a giveaway for a student club. Please get the physical card from the store. I need to send them out in less than an hour. When you get the cards, scratch out the back to reveal the card codes, and email me the codes.
I am going into a meeting now with limited phone calls, so just reply my email.
Sally ABC
Sent from my iPad
-----------------------------
Subject: Re: Respond
From: Dave XYZ <dxyz@univ.edu>
To: Sally ABC<sally.abc@gmail.com>
Sally,
Find below the codes below:
Xxxxx 12234 xxxyyy
Abcde 12345 12344
Sent from my iPhone
------------------------

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the IT Help Desk at 214.768.HELP (4357) or at help@smu.edu.

Culture Eats Cybersecurity For Breakfast

Eggo Waffles weren’t always called Eggo Waffles. In the 1950s, in the boom that followed World War II, Americans began a love affair with frozen foods. Frank Dorsa and his three brothers in San Jose California had been running a highly popular mayonnaise business and had expanded into powdered waffle mix, but demand for their mix had started to evaporate. The problem was that making waffles was a lot of work.

Frank was a bit of an inventor, so he created a giant waffle-making machine using a merry-go-round engine and a number of electric waffle irons. Thousands of waffles were frozen and shipped every day. But the name, the “Froffle,” was a flop. Instead, customers called the waffles as “Eggos,” referring back to the distinctive egg taste of the Dorsa brother’s mayonnaise. The name, like the waffles, stuck around.

The Kellog’s Company bought the Eggo waffles line in 1968, and four years later they introduced the slogan “L’Eggo My Eggo.” The marketing campaign would be one of the most successful of all time, continuously running for 36 years. The commercials depicted kids and parents in an escalating struggle to maintain possession of their precious frozen waffles. The message was clear: the waffles were so good, if you weren’t careful, someone might steal them from you. Continue reading Culture Eats Cybersecurity For Breakfast

Privacy Is Dead, Now Where’s My Inheritance

Originally featured in OIT’s Spring 2018 Security Report

Privacy is Dead

PrivacyIt’s probably not the first time you’ve heard this.  A private investigator, Sam Rambam was quoted as saying “Privacy is Dead – Get Over it” in 2006.  In 2012, Huffing Post contributor Miles Feldman posed the question “Is Privacy Dead?”  If it is, then our inheritance may have been in probate for years without us knowing it. The most recent major violation of privacy comes through a Facebook developer, Cambridge Analytica (discussed later in this newsletter), who collected data on millions of Americans without their consent to help political strategists win the 2016 US Presidential Election.  But most likely this is only the tip of the iceberg. Continue reading Privacy Is Dead, Now Where’s My Inheritance

CylancePROTECT now safeguards your home computers

CylancePROTECT Home EditionSMU is pleased to introduce a new employee benefit to help you safeguard your family’s personal devices from malware, ransomware, and other cyber-attacks. We have partnered with Cylance® to protect our corporate devices, and as part of our steadfast commitment to information security, we are now happy to offer employees exclusive access to the same caliber of anti-malware/antivirus protection for up to 10 of your family’s devices (Windows and macOS supported) through Cylance’s Employee Purchase Program. For less than the cost of a Grande Iced Coffee, you can protect your home computer for a month from malware and viruses.  Continue reading CylancePROTECT now safeguards your home computers

Critical Security Alert: Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerability

SpectreMeltdownOn January 3rd, something remarkable happened: the New York Times, CNN, and Fox News all ran front-page stories about a computer security vulnerability. The vulnerabilities, called Meltdown and Spectre, aren’t like other recent virus outbreaks and that’s part of why they are getting so much attention. These issues represent flaws in the way computer processors have been designed for the last twenty years. Continue reading Critical Security Alert: Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerability