SMSU Guards against Phishing Scams

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Shawn Hedman, Director of User Services gave clear insight on the problem that is phishing and how it affects SMSU students 

“It is an attempt to get information from other people, so it is an outside person sending a message, trying to gather information,” Hedman said. Whether it be password or personal information.”  

The most common phishing is through email, but they also come in the form of textand calls.  

“They run a program for either the link or application you allowed to run that would be able to gather any information on your computer,” Hedman said. 

All students with emails are at risk for phishing, regardless of their brand of technology. 

“Mac, there’s a lot less targeted applications and viruses and those sort of things, there are a lot of things that just wont run on a mac,” Hedman said. While the target for phishing emails is windows because there is less securityMac is a smaller volume of machines.”  

Students are popular targets for phishing because of their circumstances. Other targets include any situation with default email addresses. 

“They will target specific job offices, like business offices or sending things, like ‘Hey, its from your boss to try and impersonate someone in email,” Hedman said. “Anyone is a target because the email is free to send to whoever they want.”  

So, how can students protect themselves? 

“The big thing is look for things that don’t make sense or things that don’t pertain to you,” Hedman saidLook at the email addresses, they might have something spelled differently in them.” 

Phishing emails to your student account should be forwarded to [email protected]

“The best way to send this is attaching the message you get so that they have all the header information it came from.”  

One of the ways SMSU has been handling this is with a service that is purchased at a Minnesota state level for colleges is called Internet Guardian, which keeps track of bad sites people have gone to in the past. 

Another useful product Hedman mentioned was Safelinks. 

Safelinks, which if you may have noticed if you hover over a link and it is extremely long and you are the first person to click on it that information will be sent to Microsoft, and they evaluate if it is a bad website,” Hedman said. 

All in all, be very careful of what links you are clicking and thoroughly access if it is an attempt of Phishing.