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phishing

Phishing alert: Zoom invite

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

Please be on the lookout for a new tactic that phishing scammers are employing to get your personal details, passwords and to gain access to your university account.

These scammers are using “Zoom” video conference invitations to fool their intended victims and steal passwords and other personal details.

 

Above is one such example. Take note of the highlighted the warning signs that reveal the scam. This particular scam is “custom” programmed for specific university e-mail addresses and might target your address, as the e-mail addresses are embedded into the phishing web page and the e-mail itself.

If you do get such an e-mail please report it to IT Cyber Security as soon as possible on the ICT Partner Portal.

If you have accidentally responded to the phisher and already provided them with your personal details, it is vitally important that you immediately change your password. Make sure the new password is completely different, and is a strong password that will not be easily guessed, as well as changing the passwords on your social media and private e-mail accounts, especially if you use the same passwords on these accounts.

After changing your password, also log a request on the ICT Partner Portal in order for your devices to be checked for malicious software. 

[ARTICLE BY DAVID WILES]

Phishing scam from a forged email

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

We are almost all in lock down and less careful with cyber security. The scammers know this and are launching numerous attacks taking advantage of the “work-from-home” situation we find ourselves in. A number of personnel have reported getting e-mails from “Prof. Jimmy Volmink” asking for assistance and are not spotting the tell-tale signs of a phishing scam.

Here is the mail:

  1. Notice that although it looks like Prof Volmink sent it, the email address is not correct.
  2.  Secondly Prof Jimmy is a very approachable person, but he is always professional in his communication so he would never say “Are you free for now”. Nor would he say something like this: (if you did respond to his mail)
    “I am currently in a meeting and I don’t know when the meeting will round off. I would have called you but phone is not allowed. I will want you to handle something for me right away and I will be glad if you can do that for me as soon as possible”.

This is a spear-phishing attack where an institution is directly attacked by impersonating prominent or public figures within the university (like the Dean) to gain access to the university network. This is an especially effective means of attack with everybody at home in lock down, where our guard is down and we are more relaxed. There was a very similar attack in September 2019, using the same tactics.  

Prof Volmink’s account has not been compromised. Phishers are just trying to fool us into thinking that prominent members in our leadership are emailing us asking for assistance, but they are not. It is a scam.

Over the next few days be on the lookout for similar mails that look like they coming from other people within the university.

If you do get mail like this be sure to report it to IT ASAP so they can block the attack and help people who have become victims.

Please immediately report such phishing scams and spam by reporting it on the ICT Partner Portal.​​

Go to https://servicedesk.sun.ac.za/jira/servicedesk/customer/portal/6/create/115.​​

Fill in your information and add the email as an attachment. Your request will automatically be logged on the system.​​

If you have accidentally clicked on the link and already given any personal details to the phishers it is vitally important that you immediately go to the USERADM page (either http://www.sun.ac.za/password  or www.sun.ac.za/useradm ) and change your password immediately. Make sure the new password is completely different, and is a strong password that will not be easily guessed, as well as changing the passwords on your social media and private e-mail accounts, especially if you use the same passwords on these accounts.

 

Sun email for personal purposes

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Recently some staff have been caught off-guard by emails from cyber criminals trying to exploit them by threatening to release sensitive video material. The sender of this email does not have any video material, but tries to be psychologically manipulative and convince the receiver that he does. Unfortunately he also refers to the email receiver’s sun email address and a password they used at some stage.

This is not because the university’s network has been compromised. It happens because staff and students also use their sun address in a personal capacity. We highly discourage you to do this. In this case someone used their sun address on a website, for example Ster Kinekor, whose database was, at some stage, compromised. Subsequently cyber criminals gained access to the username and password. This gave them access to the person’s Ster Kinekor’s (or whichever site it was) information, but also – and this is more dangerous – to the person’s potential information everywhere he reused the email address and specific password. This includes Stellenbosch University sites and applications, including the financial and HR system. Of course, it the password has been changed over time, it will be useless. However, this remains an enormous risk.

Please note the following: 

  1. Never use your sun email address for anything except for University applications. If you need to send personal emails, rather consider getting a free email account, for example, Gmail. Separating your business and personal activities is better security practice in the long run and will protect you and the University network.
  2. Keep in mind that according to the Electronic Communication Policy which all staff and students agree to when they register their usernames each year, you’re not allowed to use your sun address for personal communication and that the University owns any communication sent via email. If needed, University management has the right to access any material in your email or on your computer.  
  3. If you receive an email as mentioned above, for safety sake, go and change your login details and passwords on any sites where you are registered with your @sun address.

Phishing attack from compromised staff account with attached “Secure Message”

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

With most students and personnel all working from home during the national lockdown, and with the reduced security (and watchfulness) of home computers and personnel/students in their home environment, and with many forced to use unfamiliar means of communication and collaboration like Teams, Zoom, Skype and Skype For Business, the environment is ripe for exploitation by phishers.

The following e-mail (with an infected attachment) is making its rounds at the moment from  a staff email.

If you get an email that look like the following do not open or respond to it. It is quite likely that the personnel doesn’t even know his account is compromised.

Please be careful when opening up attachments “sent” by colleagues especially if they are unannounced or the e-mail makes you feel a bit suspicious. Always trust your instincts.

Phishing email with subject “SUNCOM”

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

An email from a sun.ac.za address with the subject “SAFECOM – 5 / FEBRUARY / 2020” has been sent to staff and students. The email asks you to open a message received from “SUNCOM” (also see image below)

This is not a legitimate email, but a phishing attempt which will lead you to a fake website.

By clicking on links and providing your information, you give criminals access to your personal information and your accounts. If you think your account or device has been compromised or you notice suspicious activity:

  • Immediately change your password on www.sun.ac.za/password.
  • Contact the IT Service Desk by logging a request or calling 808 4367.
  • More information is available on our blog and Twitter.

 

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