Phishing

Phishing attempts come in many forms and are often disguised as legitimate e-mails from IT departments asking for account information. Many of these attempts have links that forward users to a website in an effort to collect personal or confidential information.

When people provide account information to cybercriminals, it negatively affects school business. LBCC is often unable to send emails to anyone outside the institution, including students, and IITS is forced to spend time outside of normal work hours, including weekends and holidays, repairing the damage.

Never supply your log-in credentials (user ID and password) or personally identifiable information in response to an email.

How to Report a Phishing Email

If you suspect that you received a phishing email but did not click on any links, open any attachments, or respond to it:

  1. Forward a copy of the original email as an attachment to reportaphish@lbcc.edu, and
  2. Delete the email

Otherwise, if you suspect that you have fallen victim to a phishing attempt or inadvertently provided your password to an unauthorized source:

  1. Reset your password immediately
  2. Call the IITS HelpDesk at x4357 and give specific details of the event, and
  3. Forward a copy of the original email as an attachment to reportaphish@lbcc.edu.

Social Engineering and Phishing

In technology, the term social engineering is used to describe the use of deception to lure people into revealing personal and/ or confidential information with the intent of using that information for fraudulent purposes. Social engineering spans various modes of communication and is often used to target specific groups.

Phishing is a form of social engineering that uses email and often includes more focused schemes such as spear-phishing (appears to be from someone you know), and whaling (high-value targets such as executives). Other forms include vishing (over the phone) and smishing (via phone texts).

Indicators of a Phishing Attempt

Most phishing attempts include more than one of the following:

  • Suspicious Sender Address
    The From address typically contains an email address you do not recognize or is something similar to a real organization but looks odd enough to warrant suspicion.
  • Suspicious Links
    Before clicking on anything, hover your mouse over each link to display the real hyperlink. If it is unrecognizable or looks suspicious, do not click on it.
  • Attachments
    An email may ask you to open attachments that, in turn, contain buttons or links to perform the action specified in the email (access a document, change your password, etc.). Do not open an attachment that you are uncertain of, especially if it’s a type of document you do not recognize.
  • Threats
    Many phishing attempts use threats or create a sense of urgency. For instance, it may stipulate that your account will be terminated, suspended, expire, etc., so you need to reset your password or verify your account information. Do not respond to threats or pressure tactics — legitimate businesses do not use these tactics.
  • Poor Spelling and Bad Grammar
    While legitimate organizations typically have copy editors to prevent low-quality emails, cyber-criminals are known for poor spelling and bad grammar.
  • Website Spoofing
    Some phishing attempts include the look and feel of commonly known vendors and services (PayPal, Office 365, etc.) but there are usually significant visual differences. When in doubt, go directly to the real website instead of using the link.

Examples of Phishing Attempts

Norton antivirus provides a few visual examples to help you identify phishing attempts. With that in mind, be aware that perpetrators have used the Long Beach City College logo against employees in an attempt to lure victims.

Remember, if the email content, from address, link destination, or URL of the website looks questionable, do not click, use, or reply. Simply forward a copy of the email as an attachment to reportaphish@lbcc.edu, and IITS will look into it.

Phishing Decision Tree

Proofpoint, a leading cybersecurity company, has shared Practical Advice for Avoiding Phishing Emails in the form of a decision tree to help users verify unknown emails.

Videos on Phishing

What is Phishing And How Can I Protect Myself? (2:28)

Video courtesy of AARP.

Online Phishing Quizzes

Test your newly acquired skills by taking one or more of the following:

Common Types of Scams

Phishing is used to facilitate a variety of scams. Click on one of the following links to learn more about a specific scam.

    Additional Resources

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    Protect your password

    Administration Regulation 6006 specifically prohibits the sharing of login credentials. Never provide your password to anyone: not your coworker, not your boss, not IITS.