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Hackers Broke Into Louisiana State University Webmail Accounts

The webmail accounts of Louisiana State University (LSU) (Louisiana, US) were hacked in the second week of July 2010 that resulted into the widespread spamming from the University computers.

As per Sheri Thompson, IT Planning and Communications Officer Thompson, the hacking of University webmail accounts was primarily the result of phishing scams in which users deceived to reveal their personal information under the guise of an official e-mail, as reported by lsureveille on July 12, 2010.

Thompson said that the users had sent reply to an e-mail that claimed 20 Gigabytes of account's RAM had been used and the user password required to clean the RAM. When the users forwarded password, the accounts were hacked and exploited to send spam mails.

Thompson further added that some of these e-mails originated from system administrator, but not from anyone real.

A similar incident occurred in the first week of July 2010 when Hotmail and MSN filters blocked lsu.edu. The threat was quickly solved and the blocks from those carriers were uplifted.

However, the incident occurred between July 10 and 11, 2010 was comparatively widespread and constituted "phish frenzy" (in words of Thompson).

According to the security experts, there are several ways to prevent the spreading of phishing on campus. The main concern is unknown place from where the e-mails originated.

The most crucial and important fact all students should remember that no University asks its students to reveal their login details (username and password) through e-mail.

In order to avoid such kinds of scams, security experts have pointed towards some red flags. For instance - check the grammar of phishing e-mails carefully because the phishing e-mails are generally crafted with the help of translator tools that lead to spelling errors.

It seems that cyber criminals increasingly target the US universities as a result there is an upsurge in phishing attempts over the recent months. Students of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) at the Harvard University (Harvard, US), Ball State University (Indiana, USA) and University of Houston (Houston, US) became the target of phishers in June 2010.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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