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Users of Duke Email Targeted By Phishing Attacks

Heraldsun.com reported in the second week of October 2013 stating that email users of Duke University (Durham, North Carolina, US) were targeted by two phishing attacks in the second week of October 2013 after receiving fraudulent messages.

The first email entitled as "RE: Annual Form - Authorization to use Privately Owned Vehicle on State Business". A similar message titled "Message from Admin Scanner" was sent out later.

Both the emails contained a zip file attachment which if opened, installed "ransomware" onto the computer of the user.

According to the university, the ransomware known as Cryptolocker, is capable of encrypting all the files of user and then asks the user to pay money for unlocking the files. It has been revealed that more than 20 locked accounts of Duke was the result of this attack.

Today.duke.edu published news in the third week of October 2013 quoting a comment on the phishing attack by Philip Batton, an analyst of Duke's IT Security Office, that "Phishing is still an issue in the campus. It takes minimal effort & time of attackers and they are rewarded of huge potential payoffs. The larger the population of user, the easier it is to extract information from people - and all it takes is one."

Heraldsun.com reported in the second week of October 2013 quoting Richard Biever, Chief Information Security Officer of Duke, on the same attack as saying "scam is similar to the 'Your computer may be infected' message that pops up when visiting a website."

Biever said, that when a person visit "security scan" by clicking on the link, another
message says that the computer is infected and the user has to pay money to clean the computer from viruses.

The best ways to protect yourself against such attacks are: Firstly, be vigilant and extremely cautious while opening any zip file attachments with emails. Also do not open any file unless you were expecting to receive from any legitimate sender.

Secondly, the university suggests you to install the latest anti-virus software on your system with the help of local IT staff or security staff of Duke.

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