Phishing is a way people or organizations attempt to gain access to a person’s personal information by sending emails seemingly sent from reputable organizations. Although phishing attempts are fairly common, the number of them occurring on Weber State’s campus has drastically declined in the last four years.

An attempt occurred throughout the WSU student and faculty accounts on Jan. 12. Additionally, this particular attempt came from an address that looked nearly identical to an actual Weber State address.

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The Information Security Office promptly sent out a campus-wide email with detailed instructions on how to detect, report and handle a phishing situation.

“Phishing scams are more common than you might think, but we take each one very seriously,” Andrea Grover, Information Security Manager, said. “When we are alerted of a phishing attempt, we typically are able to resolve the issue within an hour. So it is incredibly helpful when students or faculty report the scam to us.”

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The phishing attempt would have looked like an average university email. Photo credit: Information Security Office

Phishing scams are ways to compromise an individual’s account, install malware or spam onto a computer and can lead to significant damage.

There are certain ways to spot a phishing email. Recognizing click and follow, pressure-sell and urgency messages are all ways to identify an email scam.

These emails, commonly referred to as “clickbait,” will instruct the receiver to download unknown files and follow unfamiliar links. These steps should not be followed.

“The best thing to do when you recognize a phishing attempt is to report it,” Ty Naylor, IT Marketing and Training Manager, said. “Even if you aren’t completely sure it is a scam, report it anyway. We can take it from there, but we need to know first.”

More information about recognizing and handling phishing emails is available on the Information Security Office website at https://weber.edu/iso/threat_phishing.html.

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