Category Archives: Phishing

@MiddInfoSec: Don’t Get Hooked

You may not realize it, but you are a phishing target at school, at work, and at home. Phishing attacks are a type of computer attack that use malicious emails to trick targets into giving up sensitive information. Ultimately, you are the most effective way to detect and stop phishing scams. When viewing email messages, texts, or social media posts, use the following techniques to prevent your passwords, personal data, or private information from being stolen by a phishing attack.

  • Verify the source. Check the sender’s email address to make sure it’s legitimate. Remember that the name of the sender is not the important part. The sender’s email address is what you are really looking for. If in doubt, forward your message to
  • Read the entire message carefully. Phishing messages may include a formal salutation, overly-friendly tone, grammatical errors, urgent requests, or gimmicks that do not match the normal tone of the sender.
  • Avoid clicking on erroneous links. Even if you know the sender, be cautious of links and attachments in messages. Don’t click on links that could direct you to a bad website. Hovering your mouse over a link should disclose the actual web address that the link is directing you too, which may be different from what is displayed in the message. Make sure this masked address is a site you want to visit.
  • Verify the intent of all attachments with the sender before opening them. Even when you know a sender, you should never open an attachment unless have checked with the sender to verify the attachment was sent intentionally. Word and Excel documents can contain malicious macros which could harm your computer. Other files, such as zip files and PDF files, could download malware onto your system. Always verify the intent of attachments with the sender before you open them from an email.
  • Verifying a message is always better than responding to a phish. If you ever receive a message that provides reason to pause, it is always better to forward the message to or to send a separate email to the sender to verify its intent, before clicking a link or opening an attachment that could potentially impact the security of your computer..
  • Change your passwords if you have fallen for a phish. If you think you have fallen for a phishing attack, change your password at go/password and then contact the helpdesk at x2200. It is also a good practice to change your personal passwords outside of the College.


Watch for phishing scams. Common phishing scams are published at sites such as , , These resources will also allow you to report phishing attacks if you should fall victim outside of the College. Again, if you think you have fallen victim to a phishing attack, always start by changing your passwords.

@MiddInfoSec: Phishing Alert – – “Update Announcements”

A phishing email message was sent to mailboxes today with a subject line of “Update Announcements”.  DO NOT RESPOND ON THIS MESSAGE!

The phishing email message is an attack designed to trick people into disclosing their username and password.  Do NOT follow the instructions in the message, as it could lead to your Middlebury account being compromised.

If you were tricked by the email and responded,  reset your network password immediately at go/password and then call the Helpdesk at x2200 for further assistance with your account and any possible concerns with your computer.

Here’s a sample of the phishing email message:

Dear User.

Urgent Update Announcements.

Your Account has been Sign in with a strange IP Address: And this indicate your mail account is been used for FRAUDULENT ACT, For these reasons, Our records indicate you are no longer our current/active user. Therefore, your account has been scheduled for deletion on this Month of APRIL, 2016. As part of this process, your account, files, email address messages etc, will be deleted from our Data Base.

To Retail Your Account.

You are required to reply with your valid ONLINE ACCESS for reactivation, to ensure Your account remains active and subscribed, Otherwise this account will be De-activated within the next 72 hours hence from now.

Name In Full:

User Name:

Pass Word:

Thank You.


Beware of Fake Order/Fake Invoice Emails with Malicious Attachments

Attackers commonly use the macro functionality found in Microsoft Word and Excel to attack their victims. They attach malicious documents to an email. When opened, the files can lead to a virus infection on your computer.  If you ever get a message with any of these attachments, particularly if you were not expecting it, do NOT open the attachment.

We have received reports for faked order confirmation and fake invoice emails this week that have been well crafted. The faked emails included malicious Microsoft Word documents bearing malware. A couple of examples are included below.

ALWAYS verify unexpected emails with the sender, particularly if they include attachments.

NEVER open attachments that you are not expecting without first verifying they are legitimate with the sender.

If you do open an attachment or file that you suspect is malicious unplug your network cable and contact the helpdesk at x2200 immediately.

fake-invoice-email fake-order-summary-email

@MiddInfoSec: A New Phishing Attack is Targeting Email ID’s

A new phishing attack is hitting the campus with a subject line of, “Your email id”. Delete this message if you see it. Do NOT click any links in this message. If you believe you have fallen for this fishing attack:

This malicious email would have looked similar to the message below.


Subject: Your email id

Your?mail Id has used 91% of its allowable storage space.?Once your account exceeds the allowable storage space you will be unable to receive any email.?Click?Resolve?to login to your account and resolve this issue.




For additional information on phishing please visit .


@MiddInfoSec: Beware of Presidential Election Related Phishing Emails

Every election year we find our senses pounded with propaganda from pundits and candidates trying to sway us to one political camp or another. Computer attackers are leveraging our curiosity, and perhaps desensitization to political messages to launch attacks with purportedly political themes.

Recent phishing attacks that have been reported by security firms such as KnowBe4 include:

  • Trump Withdraws from Presidential Race
  • Sanders Withdraws from Presidential Race
  • Update your voter registration
  • Hillary Clinton Indicted by FBI on Email Scandal

Watch for these and other email phishing attacks. Know how to spot a phish. Learn more at

Phishing on campus!

Over the last week Middlebury experienced a dramatic increase in the number of successful phishing attacks that resulted in Middlebury user accounts being compromised. A phishing attack is the effort of maliciously using email or a web site to try to unwittingly gain information about another individual. These recent attacks resulted in two distinct outcomes. The first was that many of these accounts were leveraged to generate large amounts of spam. The second result from these compromised accounts is that the attackers attempted to connect to the Middlebury network with the exposed user’s credentials.

This past week many individuals across our campus received an email that looked similar to the one below:


Message with “Middlebury” as the display name


Dear Member,

You Have 1 New Message

Click here to read

Middlebury Webmail Service


The link in this message redirected people to copy of the Middlebury CAS Logon page. Two important things to know about email from Middlebury IT Services. First, Library and Information Services will never ask for your user credentials in an email. Second, if you find yourself on any web page that is asking for credentials, always verify the address in your web browser’s address bar, to ensure that the web page is where you really want to be. Just because a web page has the Middlebury logo does not mean it is always a Middlebury web site.

To protect against phishing remember the following rules:

  1. Never click on any links in a suspicious email.
  2. If you ever receive an unsolicited email  and you do not recognize the sender delete the message.
  3. If you receive an email that requests your credentials or asks you to click a link which takes you to a web site that requests your credentials, do not click the link but rather go to the web site through the institution home page, for example.
  4. If you suspect an email is fraudulent delete the message.
  5. If you ever have questions regarding phishing or the content of an email call the Helpdesk.

The Helpdesk will help you determine if the email is legitimate. Please do NOT click on any links in a suspect email message.

If you suspect that you may have recently provided your Middlebury credentials to a fraudulent web site or email address, you should immediately reset your password at go/activate and then contact the Helpdesk.

If you become aware that your Middlebury account has been disabled, you must contact the Helpdesk to resolve.

More information is available at the Middlebury College Information Security web site at go/infoSec or contact the InfoSec office at


Ian Burke

Network Security Administrator

Middlebury College