What is phishing?
Phishing is the name given to the practice of sending emails purporting to come from a genuine company or organisation operating on the Internet. The email attempts to trick the recipient into entering confidential information, such as credit card or bank details. The links contained within the message are false, and often re-direct the user to a fake web site.
Many fake emails can look very convincing, complete with company logos and links that seem to take you through to the company website, although this too will be a fake.
The IT Service Desk will never send you an email requesting your username and password. In this context, do not respond to such emails and instead, report the email.
To report a suspected Phishing or Spam email:
- Do not click any links or attachments within the suspicious email.
- Do not provide your username, email address, password, or any other personal data such as bank details.
- Report the email:
- In Outlook on the Web, select the 'Junk' button.
- In the Outlook mobile app, please select the '...' icon and select 'Report Junk' whilst the email is selected.
- In the Outlook Desktop App, Select 'Report Message' button on the Home ribbon.
- Delete any emails exhibiting suspicious characteristics.
- If you are at all in doubt that it might have been a genuine email, phone or otherwise contact the organisation to ask them if they have sent you this email. However, do not do this by replying to the suspicious email.
Remember, you can call us 24/7 365 days a year on 0300 500 5055 and we will be happy to help with any queries or concerns you may have.
We're here to help. If you think you may have entered your details, then please contact us immediately 24/7 365 days a year and we'll be happy to help.
Follow these steps if you think you may have entered your details into a phishing email:
- If possible, change your password immediately by visiting www.uwtsd.ac.uk/password.
- Call us on 0300 500 5055 to let us know what has happened so that we can offer the best advice to ensure your details are safe.
- If you use the same password elsewhere, please ensure you change your password on those platforms also.
Any email sent to your University email account from a third party will have the below warning message added to the beginning of the email.
If you see this warning message at the beginning of an email, the email was not sent to you by a UWTSD employee or student.
Emails received with this warning message where the sender purports to be from a UWTSD employee or student should be reported, and you should not open the email or click any links within it.
The following are all common phishing scams:
- An email asks you to enter personal information, such as usernames, passwords, bank account details or National Insurance number into a form in the email.
- An email purporting to be from an organisation with which you have an account starts 'Dear valued customer' instead of mentioning you by name.
- The email content is of a frightening or threatening nature, such as 'Your account will be suspended unless you enter your username and password'.
- An email asks you to click on a link and enter personal information into a form on the website to which that link takes you.
- Another ploy is to send you a bogus order confirmation for an order you haven't placed and ask you to re-enter your credit card details if you wish to cancel the order.
There are often clues which may help you spot that the email is fake:
- The reply address of the email is different from the sender's address. Don't look at just the display name -- look at the underlying address or email link target itself.
- The sending email address can be faked, so even if it looks valid that doesn't mean that the email itself is valid. Because replies to a valid address couldn't be picked up by the scammers, they will instead include a different address in the body of the email and ask you to send your details there.
- The reply address (and others) may be on a publicly available webmail service, such as hotmail.com or gmail.com. Anyone can set up such email accounts, but a legitimate company would have no reason to do so -- they've already paid for their own domain name and email facilities.
- The address of a faked website may appear to be similar to what you'd expect it to be, but the domain name is not the official one registered by the organisation. For example, Barclay's Bank's primary registered domain is barclays.co.uk, but a phishing email might link to an address such as barclays.biginternetbanks.com -- the scammers would have registered biginternetbanks.com and configured it to host their own subdomains and fake sites.
- The quality of written English is often not a high standard.
You can find several phishing email examples directly on the phishing.org website. We highly recommend taking five minutes to read through their examples and information to familiarise yourself with a wide range of examples and what to look out for.
The below are also examples of phishing email messages sent to University addresses. Clues indicating that they are scam messages are highlighted.
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thu 05/02/2009 12:36
Subject: Dear student.uwtsd.ac.uk User
Dear student.uwtsd.ac.uk User
Your email account has been used to send numerous Spam mails recently from a foreign IP. As a result, the student.tsd.ac.uk has received advice to suspend your account. However, you might not be the one promoting this Spam, as your email account might have been compromised. To protect your account from sending spam mails, you are to confirm your true ownership of this account by providing your original username (*******) and PASSWORD (*******) as a reply to this message. On receipt of the requested information, the “student.uwtsd.ac.uk” web email support shall block your account from Spam.
Failure to do this will violate the student.uwtsd.ac.uk email terms & conditions. This will render your account inactive.
Thanks for using student.uwtsd.ac.uk
It is compulsory for all staff to complete the following short courses and videos:
- Information Security Awareness course on Moodle.
- Stay Safe Online video - National Cyber Security Center (NCSC)
- Protect yourself from phishing - Microsoft 365
Top tips for keeping your data safe:
- Never Share your login details - your username and password are personal to you.
- Strong Passwords – it’s best to use a passphrase which is a combination of three words put together with numbers and special characters.
- Email Communication - always use email communication with care.
- Antivirus Software - always use antivirus software and make sure it’s kept up to date.
- Find out what antivirus products are and how to make sure it is protecting your computer.
- Training – it is compulsory for all staff and highly recommended for all students to safeguard your IT interactions by completing our short Moodle Information Security Awareness course.
- LinkedIn Learning – make the most of UWTSD free access to LinkedIn Learning which provides online skills development courses and training.
- Simply sign in with your university email address and password.
- Complete the Cybersecurity Awareness: Phishing Attacks course.