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Phishing Pic

Phishing is…

A form of social engineering where the attacker attempts to trick people into revealing private information by sending spoofed e-mails that appear to be from reputable companies. Phishing e-mails may provide a link to a seemingly authentic page where you can login and reveal your username, password or other PII, or they may contain an attachment that once opened can infect your computer giving unauthorized access of your computer to the attacker. Both methods can be used to steal information or compromise other systems on the network.

Beware of Phishing E-Mails!

Universities are frequent targets of phishing attacks. These attacks often involve sending deceptive e-mails with the intent of tricking people into providing their user credentials, personal information, or infect their computer.

To spot a phishing email look for:

  1. Generic greeting - phishing e-mails are often sent out in bulk and often use generic greetings or no greeting at all. If you don't see your name, be cautious.
  2. Fake URL - if an email contains a link that appears safe, always check to make sure be hovering your mouse over the link to see were it actually goes.
  3. Requesting personal information - most businesses will not request personal information through e-mail, if an e-mail does chances are it's a phish.
  4. Sense of urgency - attackers often convey a sense of urgency and may contain a time constraint, "click the link below and provide your username and password within 2 days or your account will be deactivated".
  5. Poor grammar and spelling - be cautious of e-mails containing multiple grammar or spelling errors.

Spammers have targeted our faculty, staff and student e-mail systems. Phishing messages are often designed to look like they came from an administrator, our help desk, or from other reputable sources.

Remember: ITS will NEVER ask you to provide private information in an e-mail.

Again, we will NEVER ask you to e-mail us a password, social security number, or other private data.

When ASU administrators detect that an ASU account is either sending spam or has responded to a known phishing message, we take immediate action to suspend access to the affected account.  Then we attempt to contact the owner of the account to remedy the situation. 

Although our systems block a great deal of spam, new tactics are used every day and some of these messages cannot be effectively blocked.  Therefore, the best way to prevent and avoid further spam and phishing attacks from affecting our users is to encourage YOU to follow the anti-phishing best practices. 


  • NEVER RESPOND TO A REQUEST FOR YOUR PASSWORD sent by e-mail, even if the request appears legitimate. ITS will NEVER ask for your password through e-mail.
  • Do not provide identity information, including credit card numbers, when you receive an unsolicited e-mail or phone call.
  • Do not open attachments in unexpected or suspicious e-mails or instant messages.
  • Do not click anywhere on the e-mail—even in what may appear to be white space.
  • Delete the e-mail or instant message if it is questionable, or forward to security@astate.edu.
  • If the e-mail or instant message provides a link to a site where you are requested to enter personal information, it may be a phish.
  • Practice the Hover Technique. The real link may be masked. Move your mouse over the link and it will display the actual address.
  • Be selective in what sites you provide with your ASTATE email address.
  • When evaluating an email you received that you suspect may be phishing, bear in mind that neither ITS nor any reputable organization (banks, websites, agencies, Government departments) will ever ask you to send your passwords or confidential information in an email. For account management, employment issues, computer issues, etc. the best practice is to contact someone directly through the help desk.
Please report any suspected Phishing attempts To security@astate.edu, you can forward the email in question.

For more information on Phishing go to: https://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/keep-a-clean-machine/spam-and-phishing

If you've become a victim of a phishing scam, take immediate action to:

  1. Notify your email administrator or security@astate.edu.
  2. Set a new, secure password.
  3. Change your security answers. DO NOT USE correct answers to challenge questions that can be answered by searching genealogy sites.
  4. Check ALL settings in your account, such as name, reply to, signature line information, etc...

If your account is repeatedly compromised (for example, if spam is sent from your account after you have reset your password):

  1. Use a different computer to complete the steps listed above.
  2. Clear the cache in your browsers.
  3. Scan your computer for viruses/malware.

NOTE:  Accounts experiencing multiple unresolved situations may be disabled until the issue is resolved.


For additional information about e-mail safety, see:

Security Tip of the Day!


Phishing is when an attacker attempts to fool you into clicking on a malicious link or opening an attachment in an email. Be suspicious of any email or online message that creates a sense of urgency, has bad spelling or addresses you with a generic greeting such as "Dear Customer."

CLICK HERE to see more SANS Security Awareness Tips!

Phishtank video