In the IT sector phishing (regarding sensitive information) is an illegal activity to access personal or confidential information aimed at the ID theft by sending an email message, from authoritative and real senders and plausible contents, inviting the recipient(s) to access fake websites which imitate the graphic design of the official websites, to obtain information like the password to access online services or the bank account, or the credit card number: data inserted in the ID page are recorded in the archives of the fraudsterfor illegal purposes.
Scam is a less known term indicating an attempted fraud by sending an email message in which significant money gains in exchange for money amount to be paid in advance. Scam may refer to an attempt of theft of sensitive data by fraudsters, like the password to improperly deduct or transfer money amounts from online bank accounts.
In order to avoid this kind of frauds, UniTrento users are required to keep in mind that:
- the University of Trento shall never require them to provide their personal information via email;
- the true authentication webpages of UniTrento are protected with a secure connection (https);
- if you receive communications from a sender apparently in the UniTrento domain inviting you to click on a suspicious link, you’d better check first: if the information is true and important it shall certainly be published on the UniTrento website or in the notice board in the reserved area.
Are you able to recognize a phishing attack attempt?
Formal elements to consider when checking the reliability of an email message are:
- foreign words, gross translation mistakes or typographic, semantic, syntactic mistakes (in particular regarding the grammar concordance masculine/feminine; singular/plural) and pragmatic mistakes;
- presence of strange symbols (e.g. mix of Latin and Cyrillic fonts);
- awkward elements in the name of the sender or in the email address (e.g. the coincidence with the one of the recipient);
- awkward elements in the name of the recipient (e.g. different from the true name associated with the email address);
- inconsistencies (e.g. between the sender’s email address and the email address highlighted in the text);
- the link to be clicked on has a slightly different address from the original (e.g. http://www.unitn.it/ateneo/ could be http://www.unitn.namesurname.ln/ateneo or a series of numbers like http://193.256.207.17/unitn;
- lack of sufficient information (e.g. regarding the advertised service);
- see also http://www.sonicwall.com/furl/phishing/
Other elements regard the general knowledge and common sense (is it really possible that someone distributes money as a gift to unknown people?). If you suspect that the email may be a phishing attempt, it is imperative that you do not click on the links and that you ask for information to an ICT contact person.
Archive of phishing cases