The Phishing Emails Students And Teachers Are Falling For

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Phishing Emails
Phishing Emails

Source: CyberNut

Educators Beware: How To Identify The Phishing Emails Prevalent In Academic Environments.

Students and teachers alike are increasingly becoming targets of phishing email scams, posing significant risks to personal and sensitive information. These deceptive tactics employed by cybercriminals often appear legitimate and can easily deceive unsuspecting victims.

Oliver from CyberNut discusses some of the most prevalent phishing email scams targeting educational communities and explains how to recognize and thwart these malicious scam attempts.

What Are The Common Phishing Email Scams?

Fake Educational Institution Notifications:

  • Cybercriminals impersonate educational institutions, sending fraudulent emails claiming urgent updates, such as changes to academic schedules, new policies, or account verification requests. These emails often contain malicious links or attachments that, when clicked, lead to phishing websites or malware downloads.
  • If a school district hasn’t done any security awareness training, they have a high vulnerability of being hacked via phishing. On average, 38% of users fail phishing tests.

Scholarship And Financial Aid Scams:

  • Phishers exploit students’ financial concerns by sending emails promising lucrative scholarships, grants, or financial aid opportunities. These emails request personal and financial information, such as social security numbers or bank account details, under the guise of processing applications, ultimately leading to identity theft or financial fraud.
  • After being onboarded to CyberNut and receiving six months of training, staff and student vulnerability to phishing drops to below 5%.

False Job Opportunities:

  • Scammers target both students and teachers with enticing job offers or internship opportunities, promising high pay and career advancement. These emails typically request personal information, including social security numbers, addresses, and banking details, with the intention of identity theft or financial fraud.
  • After using CyberNut for just 1 month, the report rate of suspicious emails rose to 22% with 8% of users reporting suspicious emails.

Sneaky Tactics And Techniques Used By Scammers

Urgency And Fear Tactics:

  • Phishing emails often try to instill a sense of urgency or fear, pressuring recipients to act quickly and without scrutiny.
  • If a school district hasn’t done any security awareness training, they have a high vulnerability of being hacked via phishing.
  • Spoofed Identities And Domains:

    Cybercriminals mimic the branding and communication styles of legitimate educational institutions or trusted organizations, making it challenging for recipients to discern the authenticity of the emails.

  • Students are just as vulnerable as staff in phishing attacks, based on results from CyberNut’s data.

Social Engineering Ploys:

  • Phishers leverage psychological manipulation techniques to exploit human behavior and emotions, such as curiosity, trust, or greed.

How To Recognize And Avoid Phishing Attempts

Hover Over Links:

  • Before clicking on any links in emails, hover your mouse over them to preview the URL. Be cautious of shortened or obfuscated URLs that may redirect to phishing websites.

Verify Sender Identities:

  • Examine the sender’s email address carefully for any discrepancies or irregularities. Pay attention to misspellings or variations in domain names that may indicate a spoofed identity.

Beware Of Unsolicited Attachments
Avoid opening email attachments from unknown or unexpected sources, as they may contain malware or ransomware designed to infect your device and steal sensitive information.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication:

  • Implement two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible to add an extra layer of security to your accounts. This helps prevent unauthorized access even if your credentials are compromised.

Oliver states, ‘As phishing attacks continue to evolve in sophistication and prevalence, students and teachers must remain informed and proactive in safeguarding their personal and sensitive information. By staying vigilant, critically evaluating incoming emails, and following expert advice, you can mitigate the risks posed by phishing email scams and protect yourself from falling victim to cybercrime.”

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