June Busy Month for Cyber Criminals Targeting Colleges

Three U.S. universities were recently targeted by separate cyber attacks attempting to either dupe students into revealing personal information or extract student data by hacking school computer systems.

SPAMFighter reports how some students at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., fell for an email scam claiming to be from the “Webmail Administrator” of the school. The email urged recipients to click on an embedded link.

A systems security communications manager said the infected computer had been sending emails in vast quantities and measures were instantly taken to stop it. However, because the computer did not have an up-to-date anti-virus program, the malware was able to be installed on the system if a user clicked on the link provided in the bogus email.

Ball State University is just one of several colleges targeted by cyber scams. Students of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the Harvard University were recently warned about a phishing attack that purported to be from FAS. The email had the subject line “Your Account has been flagged and is about to be out of service.”

The email contained the same message as the subject with an additional sentence urging the user to update his or her account details to fix the issue, followed by a “CLICK TO UPDATE” link. The email also asked the recipients for usernames, passwords and birth dates.

In a third incident, Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported today how University of Maine police are investigating an attack on two UMaine computer servers. School officials said the breach could have exposed personal information related to a small percentage of students students between the summer of 2002 and the present.

UMaine is planning a press conference today at 2 p.m. to provide more details about the breach.

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