CU e-mail accounts fall victim to “phishing”
Some CU students and staff logged into their e-mail accounts Monday morning to find a suspicious message waiting for them in their inbox.
The suspect e-mail was sent from what appeared to be an “account upgrade team” associated with ITS, according to an alert sent out by the school. Within the message the sender requested that the recipient reply with their e-mail address, password to their email account, date of birth, and country or territory of residence.
“When we found out about the e-mail we began contacting other schools who had been affected by the same e-mail,” said Dan Jones, ITS director of information security. “There have been a number of schools targeted over the last several days. CU isn’t the only one.”
According to ITS, the e-mail was an act of “phishing” from an outside person or group.
“Phishing, also known as social engineering or pre-texting, is an effort to manipulate you to take action,” said Jones. “In this case the person was pretending to be from the ITS help desk to try and trick people into responding.”
Jones said information regarding the origin of the e-mails was confidential.
ITS has not received any reports of students providing their personal information to the senders of the e-mail. For some students the message was automatically marked as spam.
“If I did receive the e-mail I just screened it out,” said Matt Pantoja, a freshman film studies major. “I’m so used to getting e-mails like that I just seem to trash them before they catch my attention.”
Other students have taken this incident to reaffirm caution about e-mail security.
“Events like this always make me more cautious about the e-mails I open and respond to,” said Michael Polmear, a senior chemical and biological engineering major. “I always look for things that don’t seem right in the e-mail. In this case there was a warning code at the bottom. As soon as I saw the code I disregarded the e-mail altogether.”
The university has taken action against the e-mail and posted a warning on CUConnect to inform students about the e-mail.
Nevertheless, ITS officials said they want students to remain cautious when opening any suspicious e-mails.
“If a student receives an e-mail from the university or ITS, they can always call the help desk to reaffirm if it’s valid,” Jones said. “Always remember that the university will never ask you to send personal information over email.”
The ITS help desk can be reached at 303-735-4357 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Philip Fisher at Philip.firstname.lastname@example.org.