Please regarding this as a preemptive security alert for phishing scams related to institutional preparations for the impact of the Covid-19 virus.
CSIT has received reports from other educational institutions of phishing scams specifically designed around the current health crisis. In one instance which we have seen, a fraudulent message is sent which purports to announce that the institution is transitioning to “online only instruction” immediately and warns recipients to click on an embedded link within the 24 hours to start their migration. Dire consequences are threatened, of course, for failure to follow the link.
We have come to expect phishing scams attempting to exploit all manner of public events and concerns, so this is should come as no surprise. Anxiety and uncertainty provide fertile ground for phishing scams to thrive, as our natural inclination to react quickly to anything touching on our concerns is exploited. Please, particularly now, make a special effort to handle all incoming email messages with caution. Examine messages carefully to verify that the apparent sender is the actual sender, that the message comes from a reputable source and that the instructions provided are reasonable. Take care to examine any link you are offered to assure that it is not disguised and, in fact, leads to the target it purports to do. Finally, be especially careful of any message including a call to action and threatening terrible consequences for failure to act.
If you have any doubts concerning the validity of any communication you receive purporting to come from NWU, contact CSIT and we will be happy to review the message for you.