Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity.
Spoofed, or fake emails, from popular social media sites, IT administrators, banks, government, popular email hosting companies, will warn of account closures, quota problems, hacked accounts or other such problems that require immediate attention; they may contain links to unbelievable videos or information on current world events and celebrities. Often the email itself, or the fake website linked in the email, will be exact replicas of the real thing.Many phishing emails will contain malicious attachments which will infect your system.
You have probably seen some kinds of phishing emails already. For example, you may have received;an email asking you to verify your account information for your Bank of America account, or PayPal account, when in fact you don't have an account with either of them. Another common phishing email warns that your account is over quota and if you do not reply to the email with your userid and password your account will be closed.
There have been many real computer viruses and virus warnings. But there are many more hoax warnings, some about computer viruses, some not, that have also wasted a lot of computer and human resources.
An example of a non-virus hoax that was e-mailed to many UofM staff purportedly warned of abductions from a local shopping mall, complete with details. This latter type of hoax is categorized as Urban Legend or Urban Myth. Almost an exact duplicate, with a local shopping mall name substituted, was circulating in North America at the same time.
Unfortunately, a major cost of these warnings is the warning itself - because many users feel obliged to pass it on to friends in exploding chain-mail fashion, creating huge burdens on local and faraway networks and mail servers.
The next time you receive an E-mail warning of this nature, PLEASE do *not* pass it along to your friends and colleagues - it is likely to be a hoax if it urges you to do just that.
Here are 2 things you should do now to get prepared.
When you get your next warning, check your bookmarked anti-pest sites first or do a search on a sentence or two from the email. If you don't succeed in finding a matching description on these websites or you are still concerned, pass the message on to only one or two key people, namely, your local computer support person, and/or the IST Security Coordinator.
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