Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

OIT looks to limit phishing attacks

Two to three students’ personal information falls into jeopardy each time a new phishing scam materializes itself on the University of Massachusetts network, according to the Office of Information Technology (OIT). Occasionally, professors have even fallen victim to these threats, which occur a few times a year at the UMass.

In a nationwide effort to combat online security threats, EDUCAUSE, a non-profit which, according to its website, is dedicated to advancing higher technology through the intelligent use of technology, and NERCOMP, the Northeast Regional Computing Program, have organized National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

The October program not only works with higher education, but businesses and corporations as well.   

“Students tend to be more likely to have [technology] problems,” said senior technical support consultant Fred McIvor. “When your machine is on, and the cable is in the wall, students are still vulnerable to the Internet.”

To keep students’ computers safe, McIvor suggests using strong profile passwords, clearing private data from web browsers, and keeping antivirus and anti-spyware software up to date. The network’s spam filters work well most the time, but it is up to students to be alert of suspicious e-mails. To get answers on questionable e-mails, students should call the help desk for answers.

Companies that may have affiliation to organized crime harvest campus e-mail addresses through people finder, networking sites, to just picking and guessing common first and last names. The cyber security committee works to cut off compromised student accounts from the UMass server to prevent the spread of infection. When student e-mails are hacked by spammers, they immediately go through every listed address on that account, and send out automated messages by the thousand.

OIT Software Support Manager Kevin Skelly says that the spamming outfits might get as little of “a fraction of a penny for every message they send out.” However, as spamming slowly works down entire contacts lists, this can add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Students who were added to spam lists five years ago are still on them today.

Phishing e-mails work by posing as legitimate companies by providing links to fraudulent banking websites. The look-a-like sites may also be polished up enough to resemble eBay, Amazon or Facebook, to name a few. Once students click on the link, the scammers then request personal information and passwords.

In the event of accidently downloading a virus, freshman Bobby McSheffrey says, “They [OIT] might be able to help me out, but they are students for the most part.”

On OIT getting the job done, Sophomore Jill McIlleney said that the service there was fast and dependable. McIlleney, who had a hard drive issue, said, “I went to the info desk, the wait wasn’t that long at all, and I got sent to the people who fix that particular problem.”

To promote Cyber Security Awareness Month, OIT is offering free computer checkups and sponsoring weekly quizzes around the four weekly themes: security basics, phishing, protecting sensitive data and password security. Those partaking in the opportunity are eligible to win iTunes gift cards, Microsoft Office Ultimate or an iPod touch.

One of the more recent viruses circulating around UMass’ online community is the WINA Antivirus. This virus takes users to a secondary website for purchasing anti-virus software and asks for credit card numbers.

The cyber security committee is continuously educating students, tenured professors who have been here for as long as twenty years, and reeducating every new crop of freshman on the basics of internet hazards.

Despite this, McIvor joked, “People click on these things they shouldn’t, too many times … way too many times.”

Matt Sullivan can be reached at mdsul0@student.umass.edu.

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