Be aware that cyber crime is on the rise
The university recently released a notice on their website regarding cyber crimes. The notice comes on the back of an increase in the rate of various cyber crimes through emails that have affected both students and faculty members alike.
“Email is the preferred method for the hackers, spammers and scammers to contact faculty and students,” said Ray DeJean, the Client Connectivity Team Leader. “The improvements in the socially engineered content is really what hurts us the most.”
This is not just a problem restricted to the university but is carried out around the world.
“What’s happened here is the same thing that’s happening everywhere in the United States or around the world,” said Lt. Patrick Gipson from the University Police Department. “So people with poor intent or some people who are trying to scam others, they’re sending emails out.”
These carefully crafted emails can cover a wide range of things, from notifying the recipient that they are winning something, to offering job offers, to making the reader think their account is running out of space or expiring. All of this is done to gain access to information or money. The cyber criminals also adjust their emails from time to time.
“It is currently tax season,” said DeJean. “Many people receive emails and phone calls from someone purporting to be an IRS agent. The ‘agent’ either says you owe taxes and must pay right now, or they have your IRS refund and must deposit it into your bank account right now. Either way, they ask for banking account numbers or credit card information. This is always a scam. The IRS will never call and ask for banking information.”
The university is working to protect its various members from falling into this trap.
“The Office of Technology has multiple layers of security in place to help protect the campus from cyber crime,” said Mark Hemel, Network Specialist for Client Connectivity. “We’ve implemented encryption on secure sites, intrusion prevention systems, firewalls, email filters, DNS filters, anti-malware.”
However, the best form of defense against this problem is to educate everyone on what to look for in emails. The readers need to know whether they are expecting an email requesting or offering information. They should also check if the email makes sense and look at sender’s information.
While examining where the email has come from, look at the domain and the return address. The email belonging to the university will read @selu.edu or @southeastern.edu. The readers are also requested to check if the webpage they are about to login belongs to Southeastern. The university’s webpages have .southeastern.edu at the end of the address.
Other preventive measures are also suggested by the Office of Technology to prevent users from being victim of cyber crime.
“If for any reason you suspect something wrong within your account, change your password immediately,” said DeJean. “Any email can be sent to Help Desk or postmaster for inspection. We’ll gladly verify authenticity.”
The University Police Department is also joining the effort to tackle with cyber crime.
“Our role in this is to help the technology office track down who has done it, where these messages come from, get information out to the community to let the community know this is going on,” said Gipson. “We do press releases, we do public notices, and we assist the university in sending out press releases and public notices.”
Cyber crime can be mitigated through the joint effort of the community. The community needs to be aware of the risks involved and preventive measures of cyber crime.
“It’s not something the police do by themselves,” said Gipson. “We work with a team. We work with the rest of the university. We work with the community. It’s something that really everyone has a role to play in trying to prevent.”
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