Students who access virtual applications from off campus now must sign in to NIU’s virtual private network (VPN) prior to connecting to CITRIX AnywhereApps. Faculty whose use any of the virtual applications available through AnywhereApps are asked to share this notice with their students. Students who access the applications from on campus will not need to use the VPN. Questions? Contact the DoIT ServiceDesk at ServiceDesk@niu.edu.
There have been a recent rash of aggressive phishing campaigns which are resulting in an increased number of hacked NIU student email accounts.
Below are examples of phishing emails that NIU employees received from compromised NIU student email accounts. They included subjects like:
Here is an interesting article that was provided by NIU’s Information Security training vendor, KnowBe4, regarding scams to watch out for this holiday season.
"The holiday season is a time when people are especially vulnerable to scams. This is because they are busy and often have their guard down. Criminals take advantage of this by circulating fake e-gift cards, posing as charities, targeting specific demographics, and so on. In this 3-min article, we will discuss Google's five most popular scams being circulated this holiday season. So, if you want to be aware of the social engineering dangers lurking online, then keep reading!
1) E-gift card scams:
3) Demographic Targeting
4) Subscription renewals
5) Crypto scams
With the holiday season in full swing, so are gift card and prize scams. These scammers will often lie about being a known contact of yours to try and get you to buy them a gift card, or they may offer an amazing prize in exchange for your credit card information. If you receive any suspicious emails like this from someone claiming to be your friend, make sure to confirm it with them through another method before doing anything further. And as always, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Be wary of scammers and phishing attempts; they actually worsen during the holiday season. This would not only hurt those who fall for the scams, but also charities that could've benefited from donations. For example, an attacker may pretend to be associated with a charity related to current events or one with a familiar name. If someone contacts you asking for money via personal email or another method, beware that it might be fraudulent.
With more people shopping online and sharing personal information this holiday season, scammers are taking advantage by targeting consumers with fraud that seems more realistic. For example, you might get an email from what looks like your child's school PTA about a holiday fundraiser.
But if you click on the link in the email, it could take you to a fake website where you're asked to enter sensitive information like your credit card number or Social Security Number. These types of scams can be difficult to identify because they seem so personalized. But if you're aware of potential threats and know what to look for, you can help protect yourself against them.
Scammers love to target people at the end of the year, and one particularly nasty version of these emails spoofs antivirus services. They lure victims with promises of improved security, but if you take a closer look at the sender’s email address, you can usually spot these scams pretty easily.
Cryptocurrency-based scammers are more prevalent during times of high crypto usage, like now. They often use a cryptocurrency wallet to collect payment and may threaten their victim if they don't receive the funds. Gmail usually sends a warning about these kinds of emails, but it's helpful to know how to spot them on your own too. Some key things to look out for that signal fraud include typos, strange email addresses, and demands for payment.
By being aware of these five popular scams circulating this holiday season, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from potential fraud."
There is a recent rash of aggressive phishing campaigns, targeting NIU students, which are resulting in an increased number of hacked student email accounts.
Phishing attacks involve the sending of fraudulent email messages that often appear to be coming from a reputable source. The goal of these messages is for hackers to gain access to the student account and use that account to do more hacking and phishing.What does this recent scam look like? What is it asking me to do?
Here is one example of a phishing message that came from an external link to NIU student email accounts:
“We discovered you got dual enrollment with two universities’ portals. Provide the two portal logins to avoid termination. We will process your termination request shortly; You will lose all your emails associated with your NIU Login account
If you have only one college account, fill in the correct user and passcode and submit. But if you are in a dual credit college, Pls fill in the correct username and password for both school and submit
Copy and paste the URL Below into the address bar of your web browser to cancel the request”
There was an external link provided and if a student clicked on this link, it redirected them to a Google Drive form and asked the student to sign in to submit the form. Once the student signed in, the hacker had their login information, and their account was compromised. The hackers have now gained access to the student account and can use this account to do more hacking and phishing.Increased security for your NIU Student account
To protect student accounts, NIU is increasing the risk sensitivity of login security policies which may result in increased MFA challenges or blocked access to your account. This additional protection will only trigger when risky or unknown logins occurs.
In some rare cases, where a student email account is considered as compromised, the account will be blocked, and students should contact the NIU Service Desk (email ServiceDesk@niu.edu or call 815-753-8100) to resolve their account situation and reset their password.How can students protect themselves?
Phishers attempt to trick you into clicking on a link and providing them with your personal information. They could be after your money, identity and control of your device. Phishers also try to create urgency around a situation. Be careful of suspicious links, attachments and make sure that the logo and format of the email is as you would expect from a trusted institution.
The FBI and FTC have released warnings about potential scams targeting individuals attempting to enroll in the newly announced Federal Student Aid Relief Plan. Please note that the courts have issued orders blocking the program, so currently applications are not being accepted. Please monitor the official site for the latest status of the program: https://studentaid.gov/.
Scammers may be looking to steal personal and financial information, or program payments from potential victims through multiple schemes, including:
What you should know
Only apply at the official Federal Student Load Debt Relief site: https://studentaid.gov/. Applying for the program is free of charge. Any requests to pay for enrolling in the program or for processing the application indicate fraud.
When you apply, the application WILL ask for your name, birth date, Social Security number, phone number and address. The application process DOES NOT require you to provide bank account or credit card information, log into any accounts or upload any documents during the initial phase of the application.
The US government will not send notices to advertise the program, so any emails, phone calls, SMS messages you receive pointing to applications will be fraudulent.
When using Google to find out more about this program, beware of ads for services that charge fees, impersonate government agencies, or try to gain personal information.
Tips to Protect Yourself
Do not open links from suspicious email addresses. During later stages of the application process, requests for additional information will only come from the following email addresses:
Exercise caution when entering any personally identifiable or financial information on websites, or when downloading images or files from an unknown or unsolicited email. Check for spelling or grammatical errors on the website or in an email received.
What to do if you are a victim
If you find yourself a victim of an internet scam, please refer to the FBI PSA Potential Fraud Schemes Targeting Individuals Seeking Federal Student Loan Forgiveness site, and scroll down to the bottom of the notice for actions you can follow.
You can also report the scam at the following FTC site: ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Does phishing sound scary? It can be. The best defense is being informed and knowing how to avoid becoming a victim to a phishing email. Attackers have quite the array of ‘tricks’ they use to trap a user such as:
Be critical of the email and assess who it’s from and the reason behind it. Is the email asking for your credentials? Are they trying to get you to open an attachment? Click on a link? Sometimes it is smart to call the organization or check the organization’s website to verify if they are sending emails of this nature out to their users/customers.
Oh NO! I just answered that phishing email; what do I do now?
If you responded to a request for a password and/or provided account information to someone inadvertently:
If you receive a phishing e-mail, forward it as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 22, 2021: Please be aware that COVID-19 scams and disinformation continues to be rampant. These scams target individuals for personal and financial information, and disinformation campaigns target organizations to cause dissidence and create favorable conditions for further attacks. https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/consumer-alerts/fraud-alert-covid-19-scams/
If You Make or Buy a Fake COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, You Endanger Yourself and Those Around You, and You Are Breaking the Law https://www.ic3.gov/media/y2021/psa210330
June 2, 2021: Hackers Exploit Post-COVID Return to Offices | Threatpost
April 22, 2020: The FBI has release a public service announcement, Online Extortion Scams Increasing During The Covid-19 Crisis, through the Internet Crime Center.
NIU students and employees, if you feel you have been a victim please contact NIU Police at 815-753-1212.
April 8, 2020: Please review current guidance from the US Department of Homeland Security.
Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the number and manner of scams is increasing sharply. If you have any concern about a potential incident or worry you might have fallen victim to a phishing attempt, please contact our Information Security team by sending an email describing the incident to email@example.com and refer to email phishing. The current scams will be updated in our IT Service Portal under "Phishing/Security Events". You will need to login before you can review it.
Bad actors are pretending to be:
None of those resources will make an unsolicited call to you.
They will ask for your account, or personal information, or ask you to verify a PIN, or ask you to go to a website for assistance.
Do not do it, and do not give any information to the caller.
Hang-up, and if necessary contact the appropriate resource through normal channels.
Malicious emails about COVID-19 containing malware are also on the rise. These emails are spoofing health related organizations and claim to offer cures, vaccines, tests or other opportunities related to COVID-19. If you receive such emails, Please do not reply to the email or click any link or open any attachment, and just send the email itself as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
These emails will falsely claim to be:
An astonishing number of new websites using the COVID name have popped up. These are not reputable websites at best, and at worst deliver malware to your computer right through your browser.
Please beware of all sorts of new COVID mobile apps. A new Android app at a website called “coronavirusapp” is a ransomware locker.
Some other coronavirus apps have been identified as info stealers
Please only use reputable mobile apps.
If you responded to a request for a password and/or provided account information to someone inadvertently:
Submit an Incident or Request a Service