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Phishers Attack UCLA Students & Staff for Account Details

IT security department of UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and UCLA's Webmail, Bruin OnLine, have warned that phishing e-mails were being constantly sent to UCLA account holders seeking the users' private login details, as reported by DAILY BRUIN on May 14, 2008.

Phishing is a type of an e-mail fraud that steals Internet users' personal information through messages pretending to be official and legitimate. phishing attacks are mostly targeted at banks or other financial institutions.

According to reports to the UCLA's abuse team, the fraudulent messages have been sent from the UCLA Support Team. These messages said that in order to upgrade UCLA's Website, it was necessary for users to provide their e-mail account particulars otherwise they would find their account deleted.

The latest surge in phishing attempts have drawn the notice of UCLA officials, prompting bulk of e-mails to alert staff and students about the risks of such e-mail scams. The e-mails also warned that if a phishing fraudster got hold of the login information of a UCLA staff member or student, then he could compromise that person's account and use it to blow others' accounts.

Meanwhile, officials at the university are saying that the UCLA is currently under the grip of "spear phishing" attacks in which phishers target a specific institution and the whole of it. The first spear attack on UCLA occurred during the winter holidays, and since then they have been increasing every successive month.

The attackers know their scheme is working because they have been getting the people's response. Hence, they simply go on hitting. Also, these attacks are financially motivated, therefore, such e-mails ask for users' sensitive information such as Social Security numbers, passwords and the like.

The UCLA officials are urging account holders at the university's e-mail system, not to give out any personal information like bank account particulars, passwords etc on the Internet. They have also warned about not relying on and falling for these kinds of phishing schemes.

Phishing attacks on universities worldwide are unfortunately a common phenomenon these days as one has happened recently on New Zealand's Victoria University.

Related article: Phishers Expand Their Sphere of Attacks

» SPAMfighter News - 5/21/2008

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