By Benjamin Neeser
September 16, 2008
Anyone who has used a computer in the last decade knows how to spot obvious scams circulating in the cyber world: You Have Won $1 Million! Contact our director of finance immediately! Scams like this are known as "phishing" attacks. "Phishers" create these messages in order to trick people into replying with personal information, such as a Social Security number, birth date, or e-mail address. Most people are able to identify scams like this when they see them. But what if the e-mail is sent from someone you know or an organization you are a member of, such as the University of Minnesota? Welcome to a nasty new form of an e-mail scam called "spear phishing." In a spear phishing scam, the message can seem genuine because it appears to come from a legitimate source?like your employer or university. In recent months, there have been increasing numbers of customized attacks against the University of Minnesota, and some of them have been quite effective at tricking students, faculty, and staff into divulging personal information.
What can happen if you get phished Most phishing attacks at the U attempt to get Internet IDs and passwords rather than money, so it is extremely important to understand the value of an ID and password. If someone gets their hands on this private information, they can attack you by
If you think you have fallen victim to a phishing scam, call 1-HELP on campus (612-301-4357).
For more information about phishing and other safe computing topics, visit the U of M Safe Computing Web site.
© 2009-2011 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer
Last modified on March 9, 2009