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Don’t get caught in the phishing scam

by Mia Anhoury October 9, 2018
Don’t get caught in the phishing scam

University warns students not to open spam emails during second cyber attack.

Concordia University sent a warning, on Sept. 25, to urge the Concordia community not to open phishing emails. The university’s Instruction and Information Technology Services (IITS) received several reports.

A phishing email is a fraudulent email sent from what seems to be a reputable company. The emails being received by members of the Concordia community are from “email addresses very similar to the email addresses of existing Concordia faculty and staff,” according to the warning sent by the university.

The warning specifies that the latest phishing scams are selling “services, products, gift cards and goods from Gmail/Hotmail/Outlook,” and fake Concordia addresses.

“Concordia takes matters of IT security seriously. IITS works diligently to ensure the online safety of the Concordia community,” said Mary-Jo Barr, the university’s spokesperson.

In the latest message, the university warned students to be vigilant. It also asked students to call the individual or company to ensure the validity of the product or service before making any payments.

Barr said a common sign of a phishing email is when the sender and replying address don’t match.

“If you receive a phishing email please do not respond, do not open any links and do not open any attachments,” Barr said. She also suggests deleting the email after it’s been reported.

Being vigilant and aware of where the software is coming from is also key, according to Barr. She suggests not installing applications sent via email from untrustworthy sources, and said it’s best not to give out any account information by phone, URL, or email. “This is not how business is normally conducted,” she said.

This isn’t the first time that Concordia has sent a warning to its students regarding phishing emails. As previously reported by The Concordian, phishing emails also circulated on Oct. 3, 2017. The emails were sent by newsonlineconcordia@concordia.ca, according to the screenshot in the university’s warning.

Cyberattacks and spam emails are becoming a trend. Hacking devices were installed at both Concordia libraries in March 2016. These devices, called keyloggers, record all computer activities, even keyboard activity.

EConcordia, the online course system was hacked in April 2017. According to The Link, 9,000 students were reached by the hack, but no financial or student records were affected.

Barr couldn’t share details about the measures the university takes to ensure its cyber security, as she said it would make the systems vulnerable. However, she assured The Concordian that security measures are in place, and anytime a threat arises, the community is made aware.

If you have received an email of this kind, report it to IITS at help@concordia.ca.


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