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ICT

Attention: Phishing e-mails

25 February 2020

In recent days there have been phishing e-mails in circulation with the subjects Nieuwe loonwijzigingen voor 2020, ICT-servicedesk: Bevestiging van mailbox-sluiting and Belangrijke mededeling!!!. These e-mails came from a University account that has been hacked. We therefore urge everyone to not click on the link provided or to enter your account details. If you have recently done this, change your password as soon as possible and report this to the helpdesk. We then can investigate whether your account has been misused and check or this possibly infected your workplace.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is fishing for login data and personal data of users. The mail that you receive looks like two drops of water on a message from an organization or person that you trust. Also the page you end up on, after you have clicked on the link in the e-mail is difficult to distinguish from the reliable sender. For example, in past events of a cyberattack, employees received an delivery note about an invoice and a Word file in the attachment containing the virus. The mail seemed to come from a colleague.

The tone of the message is often such that you are prompted to take action quickly. It is also possible that the e-mail suggests that data from you is required to continue to use a certain service. Ransomware often spreads via e-mail (phishing) and visiting infected websites. More advanced attacks are also taking place, for example exploiting vulnerabilities in software or network equipment.

Tips and advice

Please read the following tips carefully. They will help us prevent such attacks:

  • Make sure the latest updates are installed on your home computers, mobile phones and tablets. All the workplaces managed by Leiden University already have these updates.
  • Make sure you have good security software on your Windows systems. The systems that are managed by the ISSC already have this software installed.
  • If you receive a suspicious mail, DO NOT respond or open any attachments. Always report phishing mails at the ISSC Helpdesk. Forward the phishing mail as an attachment. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. in the Outlook window, click "Home” on the top left.
    2. there you will find the option "More" next to "Forward". 
    3. if you click "More", you will find the option "Forward as attachment" 

How do I recognise a phishing e-mail?

  • Consider the context of e-mails that you receive. Were you expecting the e-mail? Does it feel as though you are being put under some kind of pressure? If so, this is all the more reason to look carefully at the content of the e-mail and to think twice before you do anything.
  • Check the sender’s e-mail address. An email address can be spoofed, which means the address appears to be legitimate but contains a small error. Often only part of the name appears or a completely different email address is used from that of the actual sender. If you are in any doubt, first contact the organisation or person (by phone, or by sending a separate email) and ask whether this email actually is intended for you. Don’t ask for confirmation by clicking the Reply button.
  • Check the URL before you click on a button in an email. If you place your cursor over the URL (DON’T CLICK!), you will see the URL at the bottom left of your screen or as a pop-up beside the cursor. See if this links to the website that you are expecting.
  • DON’T click on links or open any attachments such as PDF or Word files in unexpected emails. This could activate malware.
  • NEVER disclose personal data or account details by email or phone in response to a request that you have not personally initiated. Forward such emails to helpdesk@issc.leidenuniv.nl and then delete them.
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