ITS explains scam e-mails

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Emily Considine

 

Illinois Wesleyan University students were asked to send their IWU usernames and passwords to a non-existent “information department” due to a fictional maintenance issue. This scam, also known as a phishing scheme, occurred most recently on Sept. 3, 2014.

Information technology members stress that these e-mails are not from them and to not reply. “IWU ITS will never ask you to send or forward your e-mail address/password combination to anyone inside or outside of Information Technology Services,” Assistant Provost and Chief Technology Officer Trey Short said.

Within the e-mail, Illinois is spelled incorrectly in the subject line, the return address is not an @iwu.edu email address and the attachment has grammatical and typographical errors. “The only place you would privately reset your password is on the IWU password change page,” said Short.

The Information Technology Services website provides students with the necessary resources to avoid viruses and to easily solve virus problems or other technological issues. Besides Illinois Wesleyan’s ITS staff, the world of technology offers other resources. An international computer security expert, Mikko Hypponen, offers advice about preventing viruses and online criminal attacks. “People that create viruses are now able to hack into bank accounts, email accounts and even record everything you type,” said Hypponen.

Experts used to be able to easily detect computer viruses because amateurs had invented them. Now, online criminals are becoming more advanced and expanding their hacking capabilities. “Organized criminal gangs get paid for creating viruses on people’s computers. They even hire computer experts to do some of the high tech work for them,” said Hypponen.

How can students prevent viruses and hackers from getting into their accounts? ITS student workers provide IWU students with some answers. “It comes down to doing simple things. When creating passwords, don’t use information that can be easily linked to you, such as your birthdate, social security number or phone numbers,” said Help at Ames worker Aziel Gallo.

E-mail is a great way of communicating, but like all things it certainly has its flaws. “Don’t open e-mail or attachments from senders you don’t know. And even when you know the source, exercise caution,” said Hypponen.

If you continue to receive e-mail messages like the one sent on Sept. 3, 2014, please mark this type of message as spam and delete it.  If you responded to the email or any other request, please change your password as soon as possible.  Call the [email protected] Desk at 309-556-3900 with any questions or concerns regarding your username and password.