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Reporting Spam, Malware and Phishing    

At Stellenbosch University, we encourage our customers to submit potential spam, malware and phishing examples for review. Using these submissions, the CSIRT team can learn from the analysis of these messages. This collectively helps to improve the level of virus and spam detection.

Identifying types of unwanted mail

1.    Malware

Malware or “malicious software” is software designed to damage or execute unwanted actions on a computer system or device.  It can also infect and take over a person’s device turning it into a botnet. This means the cybercriminal gains control over the device and utilises it to distribute malware to other people’s devices and profiles users. Common examples of malware include viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware.

2.    Phishing

Phishing attacks are designed to steal a person’s login and password details so that the cybercriminal can assume control of the victim’s social network, email, and online bank accounts. Seventy percent of internet users choose the same password for almost every web service they use. This is why phishing is so effective, as the criminal, by using the same login details, can access multiple private accounts and manipulate them for their own good. 

3.    Spamming

Spamming is when a cybercriminal sends emails designed to lure a victim into spending money on counterfeit or fake goods. Botnets, such as Rustock, send the majority of spam messages, often advertising pharmaceutical products or security software, which people believe they need to solve security issues which don’t actually exist. 

Submitting Examples

1.    Submitting Spam Examples

 Spam examples must be sent in either.EML or .MSG format as an attachment and must not be forwarded. This ensures the original email can be analysed with its full Internet message headers intact.

 The best way to manually submit a spam example is to:

  1. Create a new message.
  2. Drag and drop the spam email into the new message, so it is added as an attachment.
  3. Send to sysadm@sun.ac.za.

 Alternatively, use the mail application to save the email (usually located under File | Save As) as an .EML or .MSG format to a folder location, and attach the saved file to a new email.

 

2.    Submitting Malware Examples

Files suspected to contain a malicious payload, or have wrongly been identified as a malware can be submitted to csirt@sun.ac.za for analysis. All virus submissions must be compressed (or zipped) into an archive file, and password protected. The CSIRT team will conduct analysis on submitted examples in a sandbox environment to determine whether any malicious payload is present.

 

3.    Submitting Phishing Examples

Phishing examples must be sent in either .EML or .MSG format as an attachment, and should not be forwarded. This ensures that the original email can be analysed with its full Internet message headers intact.

 The best way to manually submit a phishing example is to:

  1. Create a new message.
  2. Drag and drop the spam email into the new message, so it is added as an attachment.
  3. Send the email and attachment to help@sun.ac.za or csirt@sun.ac.za

 Alternatively, use the mail application to save the email (usually located under File | Save As) as an .EML or .MSG format to a folder location, and attach the saved file to a new email.

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