Cyber Security and the Need for Increased Vigilance

March 8, 2022

Online disinformation, including phishing scams, are a pervasive reality in our daily lives. Although awareness of these scams is always needed, there are historical moments in which we need to display increased vigilance. New reports show that the United States is among countries targeted by cyber security attacks linked to the Russian aggression in Ukraine. This news, compounded by the recent uptick in phishing attempts that our community has already been experiencing, makes it an ideal time to discuss important trends and concepts related to online security. 

Our implementation of Cisco Duo multi-factor authentication (MFA) has been a substantial improvement to the security of our systems. However, if your account password is ever compromised, hackers can attempt to circumvent the second factor of authentication by entering your account information and hoping you approve access via Cisco Duo. Luckily, this is an easy scam to avoid. MFA push notifications, text messages, and email messages arrive nearly instantaneously upon your login attempt. If you receive a notification at any other time, please assume it fraudulent, do not approve the second factor authentication and change your password immediately. 

There are also certain payment methods that should immediately raise a red flag. For years, the predominant one has been gift cards. If a banking institution or co-worker is asking via phone, email or text for you to buy gift cards, many of you know to assume it is a scam. However, you may not be aware that cryptocurrencies are becoming the new payment method to be leery of. If someone is attempting to sell you cryptocurrency or is requesting payment in cryptocurrency, please take an extra skeptical eye to the request. 

The [External] tag is a helpful tool for detecting phishing attempts to your FDU email account. When receiving email from a non-FDU account to your FDU email account, the subject line is prepended with “[External]”. If you see an email which claims to be from an FDU account but is tagged as “[External]”, please do not reply. 

Through reading our alerts, you have heard us ask for attentiveness when we see an uptick in cyber security threats on our network. This time, the uptick is nationwide and has the potential to increase further. As a result, we ask that you please keep an eye out for these red flags when using the FDU network and also in your personal life. As always, we highly recommend brushing up on our recently revised online tutorial at Spot a Phishing Scam. It will provide you with solid baseline understanding of popular phishing attacks, how to report phishing attacks to us, and how to proceed if you have replied to one.

We greatly appreciate your attention to this issue. OIRT perpetually implements new rules to limit the spread of these messages on our email system. However, the best individual measure that we can take is to ensure a well-informed community. As always, our University Technical University Technical Assistance Center is available at (973)-443-8822 to answer any questions that you may have.

Last Modified: March 8, 2022 icon icon Copy Link