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Email SPAM & Phishing Attacks

POSTED: June 12th 2013

Are you tired of unsolicited junk mail; get rich quick schemes, winning the $100M lottery, i.e. SPAM? You name it and, if you have ever received email, you have received some samples of it.

The SPAM firewall went online in 2005 and has been upgraded and revised over the years. It will find and delete most spam for you.

FACT: The UWI St. Augustine campus receives on average 250,000 email messages a day of which about 5% is valid email. The rest is spam!

Many measures are put in place to prevent the spam from reaching your inbox. CITS prevents spammers from harvesting email addresses in whatever way we can. However, new methods are being invented on a daily basis that attempt to trap the unsuspecting user.

NOTE: CITS, the Webmaster, Marketing & Communications, the Principal etc. will NEVER ask members of staff to forward their username or password for any purpose.

The UWI will NEVER solicit funds from members of staff by sending an email ONLY. Scholarships, Grants and any other Funding Opportunities will be countersigned by trustees of the office and will ONLY be advertised from an established UWI body such as the Office of Research, School for Graduate Studies, Campus Registrar etc.

ALL Official Campus Email communication will be sent from an email address ending in @sta.uwi.edu.

Please report any suspicious email to your LAN Administrator or email the Campus Chief Information Officer

What is phishing?

Phishing (pronounced "fishing") is a type of online identity theft. It uses email and fraudulent websites that are designed to steal your personal data or information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information.

Con artists might send millions of fraudulent email messages with links to fraudulent websites that appear to come from websites you trust, like your bank or credit card company, and request that you provide personal information. Criminals can use this information for many different types of fraud, such as to steal money from your account, to open new accounts in your name, or to obtain official documents using your identity.

How do spammers get my e-mail address?

If you have ever registered with a Web site, completed a Web form or, posted a message on a Web site, then your email address is in the public where spammers can harvest it. Also, if you have an easy-to-remember email address (such as john@email.com), then you could receive spam as a result of a 'dictionary attack'-emails sent to every conceivable name or word at your domain. There are computer programs that do this automatically.

What you can do to fight or control SPAM?

Use the CITS Server Side Email Filters to help manage your mail. You can filter the unwanted mail to a Junk folder and it will delete itself after a set period.

Opt out - When you register at any Web site, look for a little check box near the end of the user agreement. Many websites require that you receive email from them, and the nice ones give you the choice to opt out of receiving email from their 'partners.' If the opt-in box is pre selected, you've just opted in to additional unsolicited email. I have noticed that when some websites are 'sold', the new owners do not necessarily honor the opt out clauses. They are purchasing the customer base and intend to market those customers.

Should you use the Remove me from this junk mail option?

Often spam offers you the opportunity to be removed from their mailing lists. This sounds attractive - just let them know you want to be removed and no more spam! Some people, however, believe that this is just a ploy by spammers to ensure that they are sending to active email addresses - after all, if you respond then your email address is valid. If you do request removal, and find you still receive emails from that organization you may then want to add the 'sender' of those emails to your block senders list.

Set up two email accounts.

A regular email account, (sta.uwi.edu) and one of the free email services, (gmail, yahoo etc.) and only use it in situations where your email address may be posted publicly - newsgroups or registering on a website. This can reduce the amount of SPAM sent to your main email address, but the drawback is that you now have two email addresses and mailboxes to manage.

Spam Reporting, Virus, Hoax and Anti-Scam Resources:

Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov

McAfee Anti-Virus site: http://www.mcafee.com

McAfee 'Hoaxes' site: http://vil.mcafee.com/hoax.asp

Norton Anti-Virus site: http://www.symantec.com

Ohishing FAQ's site: http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/phishing-faq.aspx

Spam Cop: Report your unwanted SPAM through http://www.spamcop.net

'Truth about computer security hysteria': http://www.Vmyths.com

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