This past week, Tech students’ email accounts received emails from spam accounts posing as Tech’s IT Help Desk.
Emails from a person posing to be “Frances O. Thomas” from the IT Help Desk are sent to students telling them that their account needs to have a security update within 24 hours or they risk losing access to their email box. Another email sent to students is from Technical Support stating that their “mailbox exceeds its space” and that they need to click a link to reset the space in the email database.
Deb Zsigalov, chief information security officer, said, “The minute a student clicks the link, it establishes a link to your email and hits your address book or phone contacts, depending if you used your phone; it then broadcasts on behalf of you then it propagates. If you have 20 contacts it sends it to all 20 then if your friends have 20 contacts it spreads like wildfire.”
“I have received many emails about this all from different people,” said Jason Swafford, a senior Mechanical Engineering Technology major. “I still haven’t followed the instructions (in the emails), and I’m still receiving emails regularly.”
Emails from the real Information Technology Services have a clear message about security usually found at the bottom of the email. Included states, “TTU ITS will never ask you for account credentials, personal information, etc. In the future, please treat any emails that ask for such information as malicious phishing attempts.”
Some ways to identify spam are looking at the email address. If there is a long string of numbers in front of the @ sign or the name of a free email service before the .com, the validity of the email should be questioned.
Another way to identify spam is looking at the content of the email. Look out for emails that say to do something right at that second or within a certain number of hours; also, if it gives an unexplained link, this can be a red flag.
The best way to prevent these types of emails is to change passwords frequently. If you haven’t changed your email password since starting Tech you are more at risk for spam. If you do start to get spam emails, change your password as soon as you see it, and it should help combat the spam.
ITS relies on students, faculty and staff to report the emails so they can help limit the spam emails and help prevent students’ computers from becoming infected with malware.
Those who experience these issues need to contact ITS by forwarding the spam email to Zsigalov or Shawn Albro, IT Security Analyst, and briefly explain why you believe it is spam.