Temple Times Online Edition
    OCTOBER 13, 2005
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Watch out for phishing scams

Last week, a fraudulent e-mail message was sent to some Temple e-mail accounts urging recipients to click on a link to update their PayPal account information. Though the message appeared legitimate, it was in fact a “phishing” scam, designed to steal personal information.

A phishing scam usually directs recipients to a fraudulent Web site, where they are tricked into divulging sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers, passwords and credit card numbers. Remember that reputable companies do not send out these types of messages. Even if an e-mail message appears to be legitimate, be very wary anytime you are asked to verify or enter personal information. The safest bet is usually to just delete the message or contact the company by phone.

In addition to PayPal, other recent e-mail scams have appeared to come from Citibank, Amazon.com, Washington Mutual and eBay. If you fell victim to such a scam by providing confidential information, immediately contact the Computer Services Help Desk at 215-204-8000.

For more information on phishing and ways to protect yourself from this scam technique, visit www.temple.edu/cs/security/phishing.

Security tip: Beware of malware

Malware is a term used to describe all of the types of malicious code that can attack your computer. A virus is malicious computer code that attaches a copy of itself to other programs or documents on your computer. Some viruses may simply cause your computer to display a rude message on your screen on a specific date, but others can cause serious damage by corrupting programs or data, deleting files, or even erasing your hard drive.

A worm is a special type of malware that spreads from one computer to another and is self-replicating. It is totally self-contained and does not need to infect one of your programs to do its damage. Worms often hide inside other files, such as Microsoft Word or Excel documents, which is why you must be careful when downloading such documents from an unfamiliar source.

A Trojan horse is malware that disguises itself as a normal program. The program may seem like a useful tool, such as a calendar or photo editor. When you download and run the program, it can cause serious damage to your hard drive. You may not even be aware until later that the damage has occurred.

Fortunately, Temple’s Symantec AntiVirus can detect, quarantine and repair the side-effects of these and other types of malware. Make sure that your computer has this required protection by visiting the Temple antivirus Web site at http://antivirus.temple.edu.