NIU Has a Phishing Problem – Northern Star

DeKalb When it comes to phishing for personal information, scammers only need one bite to snag victims.

A recent string of phishing emails plaguing NIU students and faculty has led to questions about the safety of their inboxes.

Phishing emails trick recipients into divulging sensitive information. While it seems easy to avoid, giving scammers a way in may be easier than catching the hook. Susie Armbrost, director of information security at NIU, warned of the potential danger of using student email to open online accounts.

“It only takes one person to compromise the rest. One of the students could have used their Z ID and password on another page, and that way, they got in,” Armbrest said. “Once they have your login and password, they They have access to all kinds of information. Just think for a moment about the personal information you have stored in your inbox.

Scammers only need a small foothold to cause massive damage. With minimal information, they can ban users, set up checking accounts, charge fees for purchases, or even take out student loans in the victim’s name while funneling money into their personal bank accounts.

Romy Stralka, a final year media studies student, recently received one of these phishing emails from a friend.

“I got a message from someone asking if I had the same message because it sounded like a good opportunity, and my other friends were saying ‘don’t click on that, it’s not a real thing.’ They almost fell in love with it,” Stralka said. (Emails) like, “250 dollars for five hours of work” and things like that.

“It’s all about the money,” Armbrost said. “If they can get hold of your address book online, they can sell your contacts and any other personal information they can find on the dark web, and that information could be sold hundreds of times over.”

Right now, the university relies on Microsoft’s security filtering software to catch fake messages, but the technology and ways to abuse it are always advancing. However, the best defense against these scams may be what the university does best – educating its students.

In addition to keeping students aware of these fake emails, NIU has provided a free service Blackboard Phishing Training To help students learn how to spot them.

“The best thing anyone in the world who uses email can do to protect themselves from these scams is to educate themselves,” Armbrest said. “Be skeptical of messages that claim urgency, and remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Promises of easy money can be tempting, but Armbrest urges students to be critical of their email and what they store in it.

“Be vigilant,” Armbrost said. Don’t be lazy with your email. It is not a secure storage space for your sensitive personal information and never has been.

Regularly deleting emails containing personal information and emptying your junk file can help, but when in doubt, just leave it unopened.

“If you’re not sure, don’t click the link,” said Bonnie Jensen, NIU coach. I thought I was pretty good at getting to know them, but when I opened the email, and they were listing all the recent messages, I said to myself, ‘Wow, some of these are kind of smart, and I’ve never thought of them before.

If you receive a suspicious email, you can send it as an attachment to Check the message before opening it. If you believe you have already shared information with one of these scammers, call the IT Service Desk at 815-753-8100 and change your password immediately.

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