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This week, UF will be taking additional measures to protect students and faculty from being phished.

A banner reading “EXTERNAL EMAIL: Exercise caution with links and attachments” will be placed on any email originating outside UF, Shands and Shands-Jax, starting Tuesday UFIT announced on their website.

Wendy Williams, IT director for the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences said the department chose to implement the warnings after several cases were reported of emails containing spam and links to potentially dangerous websites.

“The decision was made that they wanted to try this to see if it would help people be more aware before they would click on a link to go to outside web pages,” Williams said. “They tried a couple different banners on the IT staff first as a test run and then after some feedback they came up with the banner they have now.”

While the banner is set to show up on emails from outside the university, there are cases where it will show up on a UF email address too, Williams said.

“Some of the university institutions, like the museum, may use an outside email service for their broadcast emails and those will also have a banner because even though it says it’s from the Florida Museum, it is coming from an outside source,” she said.

Alex Ozycz, a 20-year-old UF biomedical engineering junior, said she doesn’t think the university is doing enough to prevent phishing attacks, but the banners are a step in the right direction.

“I do think it could potentially help,” Ozycz said. “However, there are so many new scams, and people are always thinking of new ways to try and take advantage of others.”

Williams said the best way to avoid getting scammed is to be cautious every time you get an email.

“If you weren’t expecting the email then you know to take a little extra care,” she said. “You can right click on the address to see where they are coming from and you can check the header information.”

If you receive a suspicious looking email, you can call the UF Help Desk or forward the email to [email protected].