ALERT: Phishing Email And Website – NEU-courses.com

Northeastern is currently the specific target of a scam designed to steal money and financial information from members of our community. These criminals are using a process known as “spear phishing” – a highly targeted form of phishing that specifically focuses on a particular individual or group, with the aim of gaining access to your personal and financial information. Please read on to learn more about what to look for, and what actions to take if you are targeted.

Recently, Northeastern students, faculty and staff received emails appearing to be from the address neucourses[at]neu.edu. These emails have a variety of subject lines intended to draw people in, including “Internships and Jobs for NEU students !” and “Important Notice for Northeastern University students.” At a quick glance, the email looks like a new student service offered to assist with the interview process. Links in the email bring the reader to an authentic looking, but fake, site: neu-courses[dot]com.

Spearphising email - June 2015
Screenshot of the spear phishing email sent to Northeastern students, faculty and staff.

The spoof site features the Northeastern logo, university web design elements and even the Empower campaign button. Fake classes are displayed with a Register Now button. This scam is designed specifically to steal money from those who input their information to the linked PayPal checkout.

Spearphishing website - June 2015
Screenshot of the spear phishing website in question

Look Out For Red Flags

  • Phishing emails and websites can be made to look like legitimate communications from Northeastern including university logos, however the text is typically written in poor English, including bad grammar and typos.
  • Hover over links in the email to check whether they are legitimate. If any one does not look like it leads to an official Northeastern website, do not click on the link.
  • If you are unsure whether email is legitimate, please contact either the ITS Service Desk (help@neu.edu) at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) or the Office of Information Security (ois@neu.edu).

What should I do if I receive a phishing email?

If you receive a phishing email, do not click on any links or open attachments. Delete the email.

What if I accidentally respond to a phishing email?

If you responded to a phishing email with your myNEU username and password, please contact the ITS Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) or help@neu.edu immediately. If you have responded to a a different phishing email with your financial or credit card information, please contact the issuing bank or credit company for assistance.

Questions or concerns? Please contact the ITS Service Desk at 617.373.4357 (xHELP) or help@neu.edu.

Don’t take the bait – Watch out for phishing attempts

Imagine this…

You are sitting at your computer and an e-mail comes across your screen…

“Your account has been suspended. Please go to http://accountrecovery-neu.com to recover your account.”

You begin to panic – you have a paper due tomorrow, and you can’t submit it through Blackboard if you can’t access your account!

Before you click, STOP and THINK. Would Northeastern University ever ask you to validate your account through e-mail?

The correct answer is NO.

In the past few weeks, Northeastern University has been subject to a variety of phishing attacks. While most of us believe we would never fall for something like that, recent events have proven otherwise. The emails and websites are extremely convincing. In fact, some look just like an email you would receive from Northeastern University. A recent favorite is an phishing attempt pretending to be E-ZPass, where the email included text about its phishing policy to make it seem more legitimate.

EZpass phishing attempt

Even the most technically savvy individual could fall for a phishing email. It is important to remember that Northeastern University will never ask you for sensitive information through an email.

Below are a few additional helpful tips to aid you in avoiding phishing attacks:

Delete all e-mails and messages that ask you to provide personal information. Legitimate companies will never ask for this information via email. As an extra step, you can forward e-mails to the organization they are supposedly coming from to ensure they are aware of the phishing attempt. Bank of America even has a process for reporting these fake emails.

Be cautious when downloading files and opening attachments, regardless of who they are from. The files and attachments could be viruses designed to steal information from your computer.

Be on the lookout for generic-looking requests. Many phishing e-mails will be impersonal and use language such as “Dear Sir/Ma’am.” Banks and companies you do business with will, more often than not, send personalized emails.

Be on the lookout for poor spelling and grammar. Cyber criminals are not known for their spelling. Most organizations have staff who review any mass emails and wouldn’t allow it to go out with several mistakes. If you notice a lot of mistakes, it might be a phishing attempt.

Only provide personal or financial information through an organization’s website if you typed in the web address yourself and you see signals that the site is secure. For example, most sites that ask for personal or financial information will begin with HTTPS.

Phishing attempts could be made over the phone too. Remember to treat unsolicited calls with skepticism and to never provide personal information. Again, Northeastern University will never ask you for sensitive information through an unsolicited call. If something seems off, hang up and call the company back through an advertised number.

When in doubt, just ask. Northeastern University has a variety of areas you can reach out to for help. The ITS Service Desk is available 24/7 and can be reached by either e-mail at help@neu.edu or by phone at 617.373.4357 (xHELP).