ITS Security Alert 9.26: Impersonation Email Attack
ITS has become aware of an impersonation email attack that is currently targeting LMU and Loyola Law School inboxes. Specifically, these emails LOOK like they are coming from individuals you know, and more significantly sometimes from someone who is your supervisor or someone in leadership.
The attacks are sophisticated and because the emails are personalized, the emails sometimes bypass our security monitoring before they get to your inbox. Please be aware of the following:
- The email will be addressed specifically to you.
- The email may ask if you are busy and if you have a moment to help the person.
- If you reply, the responder will make up a story about not being able to get to a phone but they need your help with an urgent transaction.
- Normally, these hackers are not looking for passwords, but rather for confidential information, social security numbers or money transfers. The hacker will ask you to do something that may actually appear to be legit.
Steps to take if you receive a message like this:
- Check the email address - if it is NOT a legit @LMU.edu or @LLS.edu - please send a copy of the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then immediately delete.
- If any part of the message seems odd, do NOT respond at all.
- Verify the sender by sending a note to the REAL person, using a new email and adding their name into the email.
Always be vigilant in clicking on email attachments or embedded links even from people you may know.
ITS will never ask you for your password. If you are ever in doubt about the validity of an email, please contact the ITS Help Desk.
A Phishing Primer
Phishing attacks share many characteristics. Here are the typical steps involved in launching phishing attacks via email or telephone.
Anatomy of an Email Phishing Attack
- An email arrives in your inbox.
- The email pretends to be from a legitimate organization, business or government agency.
- The email will have a persuasive message designed to entice the recipient to respond.
- The email will convey a sense of urgency.
- The email will have a reassurance of security.
- The email will have a link to a website, pop-up or web-based form.
- Clicking on the link will lead to a bogus website where the Phishers are waiting to steal your information. You may be prompted to provide private information such as login credentials and/or account information, PIN, credit card information, etc. If you share this information, you are now officially a victim.
Immediately delete all suspicious emails. Remember: No legitimate business or government agency will ever ask for personal information via email or phone unless you initiate the contact. If you receive such a request, DELETE THE EMAIL.
Never click on a link in an email! Instead, copy and paste the link in your web browser address bar.
Anatomy of a Phone Phishing Attack
- You receive a phone call from what sounds to be a legitimate organization, business or government agency.
- The caller will have a persuasive message designed to entice you to respond.
- The caller will convey a sense of urgency.
- The caller will have a reassurance of security and caring about your well-being.
- The caller will then either request personal information, ask for money or even direct you to a website where they are waiting to steal your information.
Do not share any personal information. Remember: No legitimate business or government agency will ever ask for personal information via email or phone unless you initiate the contact. If you receive such a request, HANG UP.