College students have become the biggest targets of phishing scams, attempts by scammers to try and trick people into giving out personal information, such as bank account numbers, passwords and credit card information. Fake emails will usually direct the user to visit a website that will ask them to update personal information, such as a password, social security number or credit card numbers that a legitimate organization already has.
In an article posted by WTAE Pittsburgh Action News, m Louisiana State University, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Amherst College, Wellesley College, Dartmouth College and more are experiencing a wave of nationwide phishing scams targeting students. Students from these universities have reported receiving emails that contain phony job offers that request one’s personal data. These emails pretend to be interested in hiring a person, then ask for private information like one’s home address or social security number.
Several thousand students at Dartmouth College received an email claiming to be from the school’s President, Phil Hanlon. The email originated from outside of Dartmouth and aimed to have recipients download malicious software or provide their student ID. The link to this supposed software download prompted students to type their student ID and password, granting the hackers access to heaps of private information connecting to their student account.
Louisiana State University reported a spike in on-campus phishing scams. The LSU Information Technology Services said spambots sent out emails impersonating the university’s help desk.
Phishing scams not only target students, but administration and staff members as well. At Californiabased Claremont Colleges, scammers targeted the school’s five undergraduate facilities by sending phishing emails to students, professors and administration members.
Recently, Denison’s main website featured an announcement seeking to increase awareness of such scams in order to prevent hackers from reaching Denison students’ personal information.
Kris Sulzberger, the Director of Technical Services on campus said, “There wasn’t a specific scam at Denison which prompted this. The posting was to be proactive and raise awareness about the possibility of such events, given that other higher education institutions were reporting this activity.”
When asked about specific cases at Denison, Sulzberger said, “We have heard about Denison students getting reports of phony job offers, but I don’t know it’s that frequent. We don’t believe that emails have gone out to students impersonating the president or other senior leaders at Denison. The most common report is emails impersonating the ITS Help Desk.”
The ITS department at Denison recently began a cyber security awareness training campaign for all Denison employees. They also post a monthly awareness newsletter from SysAdmin, Audit, Network and Security (SANS) to netnotes.denison. edu.
Scams are very easy to fall for. Moving forward, the ITS department at Denison implores students and faculty to always verify the domain name of the sender. Most importantly, do not click any suspicious links or input any personal information to sketchy websites.