Many of you have received email from what appear to be legitimate campus offices or other contacts, but as you look closer at the sender, you can see it is not.  The emails are generated by malware that resides on the actual sender's device or email inbox, which get sent (without the sender's knowledge) typically using the local contact lists.  Please read on for additional information about recent phishing and ransomware attacks experienced by a number of Springfield College users. 

Malware is on the uprise and unfortunately, higher ed is being targeted by these threats. These malicious programs are invading our inboxes and devices, and becoming more complex and more believable by the day.  These threats are taking on the identity of legitimate college office email addresses and appealing to institutions in light of their mission.  
Many are concerned as to why Information Technology departments cannot eliminate these malware threats. Unfortunately, the newer threats are working within technology guidelines and appealing to an end user's human desire to trust.  Hence the only real way to fully attack this threat is to educate our user community on what not to trust in the electronic world.

On Wednesday, November 30th, we implemented a a significant update to reduce the amount of malware affecting our campus community.  Since then, we have seen a reduction in these malicious interactions.  
Unfortunately, each time we install new tools to address the most recent round of malware, a new variation of the malware comes out which requires software companies such as Google, to come up with a next release.  When we hear of a new setting or tool to address the issues, we vet it and apply it as quickly as we can.

There have been a number of Students, Faculty, and Staff in our community who have been affected. They have lost money, files, and entire hard drives.  They have had personal information collected and used in association with their contact lists, and have had cameras and pics on their mobile devices, taken over remotely and controlled.  
I am including some links for your viewing to help define the types of malware attacks and to identify ways to reduce your risk.  We will continue to update these docs as more information is released.

Never hesitate to contact the TSC at extension 4872 should you have any questions about malware.

Thank you for your attention to this very critical matter.

Trish Dalessio