Students suffer from phishing scam
Recently, eight ETSU students have had their Goldlink accounts infiltrated by unknown Internet predators called "phishers."
Phishers send emails designed to convince Internet users to voluntarily divulge personal information.
"Phishing emails appeared in student Goldmail accounts, and some students didn't check if they were legitimate or not," said Mark Bragg, ETSU's associate vice president for information technology.
"They supplied their username and password and, as a result, those accounts were taken over by the phishers and were used to spread more spam."
"We have spam filters in place and Google provides the one used for Goldmail. But all spam fighting is only as good as your last update. Spammers are constantly finding new ways to outmaneuver filters," Bragg said.
The massive amount of spam spewing from these accounts alerted Google, the university's email provider.
Google, in turn, notified ETSU, and the university quickly locked the affected accounts.
Students owning these accounts were supplied with new passwords. They were also required to review basic Internet safety guidelines.
The university said that it will never request students' Goldlink information.
"We send out at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters a note informing students on how to protect themselves online," Bragg said.
"It plainly states that we will never ask them for their usernames and passwords in an email."
Once the phishers were aware that certain ETSU students believed their scam, the university became an even more prominent target.
The most serious consequences are felt by the student, but the university also feels a significant portion of the pain.
"Once [the university] is known to be the origin of spam, it becomes blacklisted by online spam blockers," Bragg said. "Our IP address is prevented from sending any email."
This means that a message sent on any email platform is prevented from reaching its destination if it originates from a student, faculty or staff account.
"Ultimately, one mistake can have serious repercussions for the whole university," Bragg said.
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