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SECURITY ALERT: Phishing attacks are on the increase

Among all the other challenges during this time of the academic year, CSIT is also seeing an increase in the number of phishing attacks against NWU email addresses.

Phishing is a type of identity theft, usually perpetrated through fraudulent email messages.  Phishing messages present themselves as originating from some type of authoritative source (e.g., security or systems administrators) and attempt to entice the recipient into compromising sensitive or confidential information.  Low level phishing scams target email or social media account information, but more advanced phishing attacks may target bank accounts, credit card information, electronic payment services or other financial information.  The attacks employ a range of social engineering techniques to trick targets, most frequently luring the target to a web site where they are asked to enter sensitive and/or confidential information.

Phishing attacks are more frequent during transitional periods of the academic year because they tend to be more effective during those periods.  Recipients of scam messages are busier and more distracted during the start of the semester or during finals week.  They may be more sensitive to the phishing scams' threats of lost access to email or credit accounts and less cautious about carefully examining messages before responding.

Please, especially during this time of the academic year, exercise great skepticism and caution toward any email messages which claim to present you with information about your email, social media or online financial accounts.  Be especially skeptical of any messages including enticements to action coupled with threats of dire consequences for delay.

If you have been tricked into responding to a phishing scam and compromised your NWU accounts, please contact CSIT (Smith-Curtis 121, 402-465-2341) as quickly as possible.  You can also report a problem through our help request service at https://footprints.nebrwesleyan.edu .  We will be glad to assist you to secure your accounts.  Best of luck on your finals!