University Business May 2017 - 45

TECHNOLOGY

Don't
take
the

BAIT

Technology can block
social engineering scams,
and awareness initiatives
add a necessary deeper
level of protection
By Sherrie Negrea

T

he first clue that something was
wrong at Tidewater Community College in Virginia emerged
in March 2016 when at least 15
employees discovered they could not file
their tax returns. After the IRS informed
the employees that their returns had already been submitted, college officials
realized someone had breached the computer system.
The attack began when an employee of
the finance department received an email
that appeared to come from a supervisor

who requested the names, social security
numbers, earnings, withholding and deduction information of more than 3,000
current and former college employees.
Since it had been sent on an internal college email, the employee complied.
The scammer must have suspected
that this person in the finance division
had the W-2 information, says James
Toscano, Tidewater's vice president for
institutional advancement.
Like dozens of colleges and universities across the country in recent years,

PHISHING SCHEME-Students at SUNY Geneseo got fed some lessons about
phishing and other cyberthreats while fishing for magnetic fish during Cyber
Security Awareness Month in October.

www.universitybusiness.com

Tidewater had been the target of a phishing attack-an attempt to use email to
convince someone to click on a malicious
link or reveal a password.
Phishing is just one type of "social engineering"-the criminal act of manipulating people to surrender confidential
information. In the past five years, it's become a constant threat, and many college
leaders see it as the No. 1 cybercrime they
face. The exploding number of phishing
attempts has forced schools to launch
campuswide educational campaigns as

UBmag.me/bait
May 2017 | 45


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