Cybersecurity Blog

No, that isn’t your supervisor asking for your cell phone number – 04/09/20

 

This week has been a busy one for the security team. We have been slammed with a new phishing tactic, requests for cell phone numbers.  Campus inboxes are receiving emails that appear to be coming from a supervisor. They look like this.

 

 

While this one contains a misspelled word, others look perfectly legit. The only clue is the  weird sender email address.

Why do they want your cell phone number? Lots of reasons. First of all they can take your phone number and connect it to your email address which helps build out your data profile so advertisers can more easily target you with ads. Advertisers pay a premium for complete data profiles.

But the benefits don’t stop there. If they have your phone number, know where you work, have an email address and your name, they have enough information to impersonate you with your cell phone provider.  If the customer service agent that answers the call doesn’t follow proper procedures, the scammer can port your number to a different carrier or disable your SIM card and get a new one. Either way you lose control of your phone number and the criminal now has access to everything that uses your phone number for confirmation.  One MRU employee has already found out how damaging this type of attack can be.

Lastly they can send you lovely text messages containing links that appear to come from your bank, include offers for free stuff or opportunities to enter a contest. Clicking on these links load malware onto your device designed to steal passwords, contacts and data.

Your best defense against this type of attack, is to read the sender’s email address before you read the body of the message. If you see that the email is not from a Mount Royal account, you can delete the message before your emotions are triggered by the email content.

If you aren’t sure if an email is legit, you can check the Phish Bowl to see if it is listed there or you can forward the email to abuse@mtroyal.ca. If you find a phishing email, don’t forget to report it by clicking the PhishAlarm button or forwarding it to cybersecurity@mtroyal.ca so we can warn your colleagues.

Updated 05/29/20