UF students have taken the bait and been reeled into phishing scams.
Phishers send emails to try to lure people into providing private information that enables the attacker to gain access to personal accounts. UF students have been targeted with scams that look like requests to update a password or verify a GatorLink account.
The UF Privacy Office is working to educate students to recognize the spam and avoid identity theft with a PowerPoint presentation now available on its homepage.
Derrius Marlin, a UF data security specialist, described phishing as a social engineering attack.
“Besides implementing technology to monitor for and quarantine phishing messages as they come into our email servers, we also work hard to raise awareness of the threats so that users can recognize phishing attacks for themselves,” Marlin wrote in an email interview.
Phishing emails usually create a false urgency to respond, may threaten to close accounts and insist on a reply with personal information, Marlin said.
Connor Jacobsen, a 20-year-old UF computer engineering software junior, has been targeted by a phishing attack posing as Twitter. He was aware of phishing and realized the URL wasn’t Twitter’s.
“I always make sure URLs match up before logging into anything, especially over email,” Jacobsen wrote in an email.
Randa Medley, a 21-year-old UF business economics junior, was targeted by a phishing scam.
“I think college students are more prone to be a target because they tend to be less informed than a professional,” Medley wrote in an email. “College students also tend to be overwhelmed and may not take the time to think if a request for information is legitimate or not.”
UF English junior Brenna Dunbar, 21, is also a victim of a recent phishing attack.
“I assumed people fell victim to it because they were uneducated or had a serious lack of security,” she wrote in an email. “But I got caught too. I never knew how vicious and intrusive these scams could be.”
[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 2/7/2014 under the headline "UF security office warns Gators of scams"]