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   from the issue of March 13, 2008

Phishing scams target UNL e-mail account

A phishing scam is taking aim at reeling in information from UNL e-mail accounts.

The e-mail message states that individuals need to verify their UNL.EDU or WAM! account due to database and e-mail center updates. The message requests individuals supply their e-mail username, e-mail password, date of birth and country of origin.

The message also warns that if the information is not provided within seven days, the e-mail account will be closed.

"You will never be asked by UNL or Information Services to confirm passwords or other sensitive information via e-mail," said Zac Reimer, network security analyst for Information Services. "If you end up falling for this scam, you are handing over the keys to your e-mail account."

The information could allow individuals to use e-mail accounts to send spam messages. They could also search for private information in old e-mail messages.

"That would be the biggest threat to an individual," Reimer said.

Reimer said the e-mail - and others similar to it - should be deleted. Also, account holders should not click on any link within the message.

"Generally speaking, that is a good way to protect yourself," Reimer said.

While e-mail phishing scams are not unusual, Reimer said this is the first one that directly targeted information about UNL accounts.

"This is something that has been going on for a couple of years at other universities," Reimer said. "But this is the first one that was made specifically for UNL e-mail accounts.

"That makes these attacks a greater concern for us. If you receive a message that seems authentic, contact me or a member of the Lotus Notes team."

At least one campus individual responded to the e-mail, Reimer said.

"They realized what they did and contacted us right away," Reimer said.

Individuals who have replied to such an e-mail should change their password immediately. For assistance in changing a password for UNL service, contact the Information Services Computer Help Desk at 472-3970 or 866-472-3970.

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