With the semester coming to an end, I’ve learned several important tips for getting by. Specifically, I’ve learned to constantly check my email or else risk missing information.
In order to succeed, it’s vitally important to constantly check our email, and through discovering this, I’ve also discovered something else: Northwest has a phishing problem, and no, I don’t mean fishing.
In essence, phishing is a manipulative tactic used by anyone with the goal of gaining access to our personal information, often carried out through deceptive emails. In other words, whenever we browse through our inbox and stumble across a suspicious email offering a too-good-to-be-true part-time job, we’ve just received a phishing email.
Falling victim to a phishing email can result in a myriad of problems for the victim.
To clarify, our information is still safe as long as we don’t follow any links in the email or provide any form of our information to a potential contact provided. However, if we do either of these, depending on the extent of the information provided, our financial and personal accounts can be compromised.
Securityweek, an online publication that provides coverage over security issues in the digital world, further explains this.
“Once the user visits the fake site they may be asked overtly to enter account information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, social security or bank account numbers,” Securityweek said.
The last thing any college student needs added on top of their already stressed-filled life, is to find out their personal information has been compromised due to a phishing email.
In order to combat phishing, there are several steps we can personally take.
According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, these steps include being on the lookout for suspicious emails, avoiding clicking unknown links and avoiding sending personal and financial information in emails. However, combating phishing is not just an individual battle.
Northwest should be taking more steps to ensure students don’t fall victim to phishing emails. One way the University could do so is by doing a better job of spreading information about phishing.
Only two digital locations warning students of phishing attacks exist on the University’s website. The first location is on the myNorthwest homepage, and the second location is buried in the tech help page of the main website.
In order to better inform students, the University should also include this information where students are more likely to see it. Possible locations could be on the Canvas home page, monthly email reminders, on Catpaws, or even physical flyers put up around campus.
After all, no one wants to be reeled in on a phisher’s email.