MIA VAN DER MERWE
Phishing can be a big problem. Phishing warnings flood the inboxes of students at Stellenbosch Uni- versity (SU) at regular intervals, alerting users against fraudulent emails containing links that could infect their devices with viruses.Damage on an infiltrated device is very difficult to fix.
Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies or credible individuals asking for login information, in order to ploy individuals to reveal their personal information.
The hacker sends an email with a link and gets hold of personal information such as passwords and other intellectual property.
Suné van Niekerk, from the SU IT Hub, explains that the IT Hub can see threats on the university’snetwork before serious attacks candamage personal devices or ac- counts. Andrew Stevens, chief IT executive at Humarga, says that there are monitors in place to de-tect an attack or virus before thehacking process is set in motion.
The phishing alert email from the IT Hub itself is not a phishing attack, purely a warning. According to Stephens, no serious damage from phishing attacks has ever occurred and no student or staff member has ever lost personal information as the monitors that are in place work effectively.
Van Niekerk says that students who could potentially be a victimof an attack are immediately contacted and warned by the IT Hub. Stephens advises that students be vigilant when opening these emails, and to be certain that one is always on a legitimate website.
According to Stephens fraudulent websites can easily be spotted. For example, www.word.com would be a legitimate website and www.w0rd.com not.