Phishers Target UM Grizmail Accounts

The University of Montana (UM) IT department is trying to detect online fraud incidences on its campus so that students' university-offered Grizmail accounts could be safeguarded against the continuous risk of phishing attacks and computer viruses.

The move follows a massive phishing scam marring Grizmail on January 9, 2009 when phishers sent fraudulent e-mails to several thousand e-mail accounts at the campus.

More details from the Montana IT department revealed that of all the phishing e-mails reached the students on January 9, 2009, the most common one contained a PC virus. This type of e-mail carried a ZIP file loaded with the virus that promised free software from IKEA serving simple and free kitchen design application tools, an employment opportunity from Coke, or an e-card from Hallmark.

Authorities at the school's IT department tell students receiving such e-mails to immediately delete them.

They also tell students who might have replied to the e-mail that it could facilitate scammers to access their e-mail accounts. The crooks could then dispatch numerous spam messages from those accounts or find e-mails containing personal/financial information to commit identity theft.

To give assistance to students, the IT personnel tell students that they can contact IT Central, or the 243 Help-line for any query. Additionally, they remind students that the university's IT department would never seek personal information such as date of birth, username, student ID and social security number via e-mail.

Meanwhile, Director of IT Communications, Gordy Pace, described the phishing incident at the university as "significant" and has been pasting warning posters on the campus walls, as reported by montana kaimin on February 9, 2009. Pace said that UM has had several phishing scams striking it in the recent months in which people did respond with their credentials.

Security experts comment that phishing attacks continue to intensify, with numerous of them targeting college students as it is not difficult to steal personal information via the school's official Webmail. Notably, the Penn State University during the 1st week of February 2009 too reported a phishing scam that hit its Webmail accounts.

Related article: Phishers Expand Their Sphere of Attacks

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