Cybersecurity Blog

Take the Cybersecurity Survey and win a $50 gift certificate to the Table – 11/06/19

 

 

It’s that time of year again when we look back at how we have done for the last 12 months and determine how we can improve. It is cybersecurity survey time!!! Yes, you  read correctly the Cybersecurity Survey is ready for your input.  Whoo hoo, I can just feel your excitement!

The good news is for completing the survey, you earn a contest entry code for the Cybersecurity Challenge. The better news is we have a sponsor for this year’s survey. I know there will be those of you who were looking forward to winning a grab bag of swag. However you sick folks are going to have to settle for a gift certificate from the Table.  That’s right, the terrific folks at NetApp are donating a $50.00 gift certificate. !

To get your free food, you only need to take 5 to 10 min to complete the survey. Your feedback helps shape the cybersecurity awareness program for the next year.  Remember we want to know what you ARE doing not what you should be doing. The survey is completely anonymous, so you are free to be 100% honest. The contest draw is independent of the survey so you can give us your anonymous feedback and still enter. You have until November 30, 2019 to complete the survey, we will do the draw that day. We look forward to hearing from you!

Complete the survey

Sponsored by

Watch for payroll related phishing emails – 11/05/19

 

Tuesday morning was an exciting one for the security team. Over 900 inboxes received the following email.

 

 

I am delighted to report that a huge number of you were superheros and forwarded the email to abuse@mtroyal.ca. Thanks to you we were able to block the target page and limit any damage. Even though so many of you spotted the email as a phish right away, with the high number of recipients Marketing and Communications made the unusual decision to issue a campus wide alert.

While we were investigating the incident, we discovered that the attacker spent a lot of time viewing our Payroll webpage. There is an excellent chance that the attacker will use this information in the near future to create another phishing email.

We are asking everyone across campus to keep an eye out for payroll or HR related phishing emails in the next little while. If you receive an email that appears to come from HR or Payroll, please check the email address for accuracy. If it is correct, please call the sender to confirm that they actually sent the email.

Should you find the email to be malicious, do what your colleagues did this morning and forward the email to abuse@mtroyal.ca. You too can be a superhero!

 

Logging into a machine or account and then letting someone use it is against our AUP – 10/29/19

 

 

This quarter our main message has been Keep your Password Secret. The reason is, sharing your password is against our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and puts yourself and our network at risk. The purpose of keeping your password secret is to prevent other people from having access to information and applications that they shouldn’t as well as to provide accountability.

Much to my surprise, it has been discovered that employees are logging into applications, workstations and systems with their own credentials and then letting someone else use those same applications, workstations and systems. While they are indeed keeping their passwords secret, they are still violating our AUP and exposing themselves to the same risks just as if they had just handed over their password. They risk is not just the loss of data, but also being held accountable for something that they did not do.

That is exactly what happened this week. A supervisor logged into an application using their credentials and then let their reports use the application. While one of the reports was using the system, they made changes to data they were not authorized to make. Because the supervisor’s credentials were used, they were questioned about the changes. The supervisor denies they made the changes, however there is no way to track who in fact made them.

I am also aware of similar situations occurring when guests are brought on campus. Some departments have been asking their administrative assistants to login to a workstation and then turn the workstation over to a guest speaker.  This is also a violation of the AUP.

If you have a guest coming to speak on campus, they are required to bring their own laptop and then connect to the visitor WiFi, MRvisitor. If they do not have a laptop, they can borrow one from the library. At no point are visitors allowed to have access to our internal WiFi, MRsecure, our workstations or computers stored in smart cabinets.

Repeatedly sharing passwords or logging in and letting others use workstations or applications will result in your account being locked down. If you have any questions regarding the sharing of passwords or credentials, please refer to our AUP or contact the IT Service Desk at 403-440-6000.

 

SIN number scammers calling MRU employees – 10/25/19

 

 

Mount Royal employees are receiving fraudulent calls from individuals pretending to be from the Canadian government. The caller explains there is an issue with your SIN number and as a result you are subject to legal action. You are asked to contact them immediately.  Upon contacting them, you are told you must pay thousands in bitcoin to avoid being charged with fraud. This scam is similar to one currently making the rounds in Regina.

What makes this scam so concerning is the fraudsters are spoofing government agencies so the call looks like it is official.  As well they are often robocalls which makes them sound even more legitimate. In response, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has issued an alert asking people to be vigilant.

No government of Canada agency will call you over the phone and threaten you or ask for payment. Neither will the RCMP or police. If you receive a call of this nature, hang up the phone. If you are concerned there may be an issue with your SIN you can contact the government directly by visiting their website. You can also check with Equifax and Transunion to see if your SIN has been used to obtain additional credit without your knowledge.

 

New phishing email tactic, the found student pass – 10/17/19

Those clever cybercriminals have come up with another tactic to get you to click on something you shouldn’t. Introducing the “I found an ID pass”, phishing email.

 

 

What makes this email so diabolical, is it has no sense of urgency. In fact it asks nothing of you at all. It simply lets you know that a pass was found and it is being mailed. It’s calm, indifferent manner lull’s you into thinking the email is harmless. It counts on the reader being so curious that they throw caution to the wind and click on the link to see whose ID was found. Quite ingenious really.

If you receive an email of this sort, delete it and wait for the mail to arrive.

 

MRU employee checks for email legitimacy and talks to the hacker – 10/17/19

One sure fire way to avoid becoming a victim of a cyberattack is to call the email sender to verify that they in fact sent the email.  That is a message that I preach over and over again all over campus. I am happy to report that my message is being heard and acted upon…sort of.

Here is the email that one of our staff received in their inbox.

 

 

The staff member knows the sender and aside from the poor grammar, the email is spot on. The  attachment was indeed a Sharepoint document, so she opened it. However when she found nothing but a greeting link to another document she paused.  She knew that email addresses could be spoofed and realized she should confirm the legitimacy of the email. So she sent this email.

 

 

She correctly did not reply to the original email.  But created a new one and sent it using an email address in her contact list. This is the reply that she received.

 

 

 

Before she could check the invoice, she received this email.

 

 

The sender’s email account had been hacked!  It didn’t occur to our staff member that if someone else was using her colleague’s email address, it wouldn’t be her colleague who responded .  She gets an A for verifying the legitimacy of the email.  But she gets a F for talking to the hacker.

The lesson has been learned. When confirming email legitimacy, use the darn phone.  A 30 second phone call can save you from a world of hurt.

 

The Cybersecurity Challenge begins October 1, 2019 – 09/26/19

 

 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month begins October 1 and with it the Cybersecurity Challenge. There are a variety of activities planned for the month that staff, students and faculty can participate in.  Each time a staff or faculty member participates in one, they earn a contest entry code. Each code earns them one chance to win a $250.00 gift certificate from Best Buy.  Their entry also counts as one point for their team. The team with the most points wins the Golden Superhero Award!

 

The Golden Superhero Award!!

 

Although students are welcome and encouraged to participate in cybersecurity activities, they cannot enter the draw. This year the challenge runs from October 1, 2019 to October 1, 2020. So you have a whole year to participate in activities and earn contest entry codes.  Earn codes by:

  • Reading the Cybersecurity Newsletter
    • Random newsletters will contain codes throughout the year. Read the newsletter weekly to find the codes.
  • Participating in a Main Street event
    • Come down to Main Street and participate in that month’s activities. Everyone who participates gets a code and a spin of the prize wheel.
  • Attending Lunch n Learns
    • Come see speakers present cybersecurity topics. Codes will be given at the end of each talk.
  • Attending a movie screening
    • Come down to the Ideas Lounge in the Library and watch fascinating documentaries on cybersecurity. Codes will be given at the end of the film.
  • Participating in Hack the Box
    • Put together a team or participate on your own. Your code is locked inside the box. Can you solve the puzzles and hack your way in?
  • Completing online Security Awareness Training or a Security Awareness Workshop
    • You get the same code whether you attend a workshop or take the online training.
  • Displaying a cybersecurity awareness sticker
    • Send me a photo of where you have put your cybersecurity sticker. Your photo will be put on the CSAM website and you will receive a code in return.
  • Reading the cybersecurity posters and slides
    • Scan the posters and TV screens across campus to see if you can find the codes. There is a new one every quarter.

On Tuesday, October 1,  grab your colleagues, fire up your team and start collecting codes! Then Every Monday, check the Leaderboard and find out who is the team to beat. For more details on the Challenge, visit Cybersecurity Hub.

 

Fake email from Tim Rahilly arriving in spam folders – 09/18/19

 

This week the campus community is finding a particularly clever phishing email in their spam folders. It looks like this:

 

 

This is the third time our illustrious leader has been impersonated. Although this email is mostly  landing in spam folders, I thought I should bring it to your attention in case it sneaks into an inbox or two.

Your on-the-ball colleague caught this one because they checked the sender’s email address. This is a gentle reminder to follow their lead.  With all emails that ask you to take some sort of action, whether it is opening an attachment, clicking on a link or providing information, always check the sending email address BEFORE you read the email. If the email address is wrong, it is less likely your emotions will be triggered and rational thought will be by passed.

If this darling arrives in your spam folder or inbox, it can safely be deleted.

 

Clever Staples phishing email showing up in MRU inboxes – 09/05/19

Classes have begun and the hackers are betting that employees across campus will be ordering supplies. They have begun sending out fake order confirmations from Staples.  These emails are extremely well done.  Take a look.

 

 

I especially like the note at the bottom that specifically asks you to reply to the email.  Just in case you are suspicious, they have given you some lovely directions that will put you in touch with them.  Very clever.

The only real tell, unless you are super familiar with the email that Staples uses for order confirmations, is the View here button URL that takes you to chainetwork.club. Definitely not Staples.

As with all other emails that come from organizations that you are familiar with, visit their website directly to check orders, confirmations and payments. Do not use links in emails even if they look as legitimate as this one.

 

Basic IT Security Awareness 2019 training course coming down – 08/30/19

 

 

It’s that time of the year again. Time for the old cybersecurity training to go down and the new one to go up. If you haven’t completed Basic IT Security Awareness 2019, you still have a couple more days to finish it up. Tomorrow evening it will be disabled and the grades will be archived. Sunday, September 1 the new course Cybersecurity Awareness Training 2020 will go live. This new course has great new videos and some updated content.

You have until June 30, 2020 to complete the new training course. At that time the course will be taken down. Please put this date into your calendar.

If you take PCI training, you do not have to complete this new course. Your PCI training contains the same cybersecurity information as this one does.

I hope you enjoy the new training course. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please contact me at bpasteris@mtroyal.ca