From ATUS: Be wary of phishing e-mails

The folks at ATUS sent out a reminder this morning to be on the lookout for fraudelent e-mail messages that ask for personal information. Members of the WWU community should never give out their personal information in an e-mail.

A few tips to help identify potential phishing e-mail messages:

  • WWU Information Technology Services will NEVER ask you for your account name and password in an e-mail. Any message that requests such information is bogus. It is also against WWU policy for you to share your password with anyone. A message asking you to change your password through your normal process is very different than a message asking for your password.
  • Be on the lookout for subtle language clues. Often these messages will use language constructs that are not typical.
  • If you have any questions about the content or instructions in a message, you should always contact the source of the message. Checking a Web page, making a phone call or creating a new message is always safer than replying to a questionable message.
  • Always remember that the return address on a message can be "spoofed." This means that that the address you initially see may not actually be the source of the message.

If you have responded to a message with your username and password, you should immediately change your password and contact the ATUS Help Desk at (360) 650-3333, or contact your local technology support staff.

As an example, the following text is from a recent fraudulent e-mail:

Greetings Faculty, Staff, & Students

Western Washington University is in the midst of many exciting Information Technology (IT) changes which are designed to improve the quality and types of IT services available to you. While many of these changes are "behind the scenes" and not visible like a Website would be, there will be noticeable improvements in "everyday" use items such as the WWU Website"s search capabilities.

As we want to ensure that any changes are tested as accurately and fully as possible, we have developed an isolated "test" network where we are performing various tests to assure the smoothest transition possible. We need your help to populate the test environment with real user information which we can then utilize to further our testing and assure that we are providing top quality services to you. To assist with this effort we have setup a secure site to gather the necessary information. Please click on the link below to be directed to the secure site, and complete the information requested.

<webpage link here>

Thank you in advance for responding to this information request. The information you provide will assist us in providing you with the highest quality IT services and the lease amount of interruption during the implementation of these new features.

John Lawson
Vice Provost for Information Technology

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009 - 9:08am