ITS Security Tip 12.9.2019
As LMU prepares to be the venue for the upcoming DNC Debate, we also need to be cautious, as this event will make us a target for cyber-attacks, especially phishing email campaigns. Be vigilant and on the lookout for any phishing emails, and remember, when in doubt, contact the LMU Service Desk. For tips on how to recognize phishing emails, scroll down.
Phishing On The Rise At LMU
In Fall 2018, LMU has seen an increased number of fraudulent emails, or SPAM messages, designed to trick recipients into clicking links, opening attachments, or taking other actions. Specifically, we have seen a large number of Email Impersonation Scams targeting key individuals within the university. These attacks typically seem to come from personnel in positions of authority, and ask targets to perform money transfers, pay invoices, or send sensitive data. To learn more about how to recognize these phishing emails and protect yourself and our organization from getting hooked, read the following list of key phishing identifiers, or click here to see an example of a phishing email: Anatomy of a Phishing Email
1. Suspicious Email Addresses - If an email seems to be from a legitimate source by came from a nonofficial doman (i.e., @hotmail.com instead of @lmu.edu), it's probably fraudulent. Also check other recipients of the email - if it was sent to a lot of people, especially ones you don't know, you should be suspicious.
2. Generic Salutations - You should be suspicious of any email that isn't addressed directly to you. Watch out for salutations like "Dear Madam" or "Valued Customer".
3. Spelling Mistakes and Grammatical Errors- Everyone makes mistakes, but glaring and obvious errors such as "Loyola Mary Mount University" or a plethora of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are reasons be wary.
4. Immediate Action Required- Phishing emails frequently have an alarmist tone, to try to rush recipients into taking action and making mistakes. Legitimate organizations rarely ask for immediate action or personal information.
5. Suspicious URLs - If you hover your cursor over a link, the destination will appear; phishing emails often use URL text in emails that seems legitimate, but directs to not-secure sites.
6. Attachments - As a general rule, don't open attachments you aren't expecting. If you get a strange attachment from someone you know, contact them before opening it.
7. Too Good To Be True - If something seems too good to be true, it probably is, especially if you receive offers from companies or services you've never used, or get prizes from a contest you never entered.
8. Weird Messages From Friends - Phishing emails may come from someone you know, if a friend's email has been hacked or if a hacker created a new email address using a friend's name to try to trick recipients. If you receive a suspicious email from a friend, call or text them about it before opening the message.
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.