March 15, 2011

Beware of 'Phishing' Scams Linked to Japanese Disaster

With the natural disasters in Japan (tsunami and earthquakes), phishing and spam attacks are on the rise. ITS has noticed a spike in bogus anti-virus programs being pushed to members of the Vanderbilt community. These bogus programs and links contain malware that can be used to steal information or take over your computer.

Do not respond to unsolicited e-mail messages offering services or assistance or requesting personal information. Also, do not click on any links, photos or videos these messages may contain as they have a high potential to install viruses and malware on your computer systems. The same cautions also apply to unsolicited Facebook and other social networking messages, ads, videos and links.

Phishing is the practice of "fishing" for victims and luring these unsuspecting Internet users to a fake website. This is accomplished with e-mail messages that appear to be from legitimate organizations with the purpose of convincing you to divulge passwords, financial or other personal information, or to introduce a virus to your computer and the network. Phishing attempts spike following major events, such as a natural disaster or other highly reported news event, and also over the holidays.

If you have any questions, please contact your local technology support professional or one of the Vanderbilt IT help desks:
• VUMC Helpdesk: 343-HELP
• ITS Helpdesk: 343-9999