Cybersecurity Blog

Must Read – They’re back and this time they’re impersonating David Docherty – 12/12/18




The MRU impersonators are at it again.  Apparently they didn’t get bites just pretending to be a supervisor so they have upped their game.  Their third attempt uses an email that appears to come from Dr. Docherty himself.


As with the other attempts, if you respond to this email you are asked to purchase gift cards. This is just another reminder to check the sender’s email address when you find yourself responding emotionally to an email.


Must Read – Iranian Hackers are trying to steal university research – 08/31/18



Iranian hackers are sending out phishing emails that appear to come from within a targeted university. The emails contain a link and urge the recipient to sign in to an internal resource, the favorite being the library system.  The link is to a fake login page that records login credentials.

The hackers appear to be trying to steal research data.  The campaign is world wide with over 16 universities targeted and over 300 fake websites created. Canadian universities are among the targets.

If you receive an email asking you to login to one of our internal resources, do not click on any links in the email.  Instead, access that resource using a bookmark or a link on  You can also contact the department in charge of that resource and ask them if they sent out an email. Pay special attention to emails asking you to login to the library system.

If you are unsure of the legitimacy of any email, you can forward it to and IT Services will be happy to investigate for you.


When a stranger calls, it may not be who you think – 07/19/18



Have you checked on the computer? *Tech support scams are the bread and butter of many criminals organizations.  The latest version is rather creative.  It starts with you clicking on something you shouldn’t which installs malware on your machine.

The malware waits for you to type “bank” in the browser. When it sees you going to your banking login page, it redirects you to a fake banking web page that records your credentials while you try to login.  It then slows your computer down making you think there is something wrong with it.  Then a pop up conveniently appears telling you that you have a technical problem and asks you for your name and phone number so tech support can call you.

Surprise, a real life bad guy calls and tries to manipulate you into giving them more information so they can immediately transfer money out of your account. It is a rather slick scam. You would admire them if they weren’t stealing money from you.

This is just another reminder that no legitimate tech support company will ever call you or prompt you to call them.  If you get a 1-800 number,  are offered technical assistance without asking for it or have someone call you to offer help; the stranger is there to help themselves, not you.


*I am hoping you get the reference. If not, this will help.

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Your customer service complaints on social media might be setting you up – 06/28/18



Most people have heard of the irate consumer that complains about a product or service on social media and is then contacted by the company who offers them something wonderful to make them happy.  This isn’t just an urban legend. Many companies keep an eye out for disgruntled customers on social media so they can address complaints before they cause backlash.

Criminals are taking advantage of this by masquerading as  customer service representatives. Just like the legitimate companies, they set up alerts to be notified when someone posts about a company. They then contact the disgruntled consumer with  an official looking text or email containing a link that  will resolve their issue.

When annoyed consumers click on the link, they get malware loaded onto their machine or device instead of getting help with their complaint .  This is called Angler Phishing.

If you have a complaint with a company, I suggest that you contact them directly. If you decide to make a fuss on social media, be aware that anyone who contacts you could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.


Adidas is not giving away free shoes – 06/19/18



From the Too Good to Be True file, comes the Adidas anniversary giveaway.  Messages are  currently circulating in WhatsApp promising a free pair of Adidas shoes in celebration of their anniversary.  Initially messages referred to a 93rd anniversary, however the hacker decided to do some basic math and more recent messages correctly refer to a 69th anniversary.

You might be asking, why on earth would someone fall for this? Well once the scammers sorted out their math, they were clever enough to spoof the official Adidas site. The fake URL is exactly like the legitimate one with only the i replaced with a vertical line with no dot.  This is an easy thing to miss when one is being tempted with free footwear.

In addition the scam is quite sophisticated.  They don’t just come right out and say, give me your personal information and I will give you free shoes. Instead, they give the whole thing a legitimate feel by making the victim qualify first by answering a short survey and requiring them to share the offer with their WhatsApp contacts (just for the record, there is no way for them to determine if you have shared a message or not). Once you qualify, you are told you can claim your shoes for a dollar. Of course as payment is now required (but it’s only a dollar, so it’s nearly free), you are sent to a webpage that collects your payment card information. Having jumped through multiple hoops to claim your prize, you now feel like you have earned the free shoes and all thoughts that this are a scam are gone from your mind.

That is until you see the confirmation of payment web page that includes a line in the footer saying you will be charged $50 per month if you don’t cancel your subscription in seven days.  Of course they now have your payment card information and will charge you what they want for as long as they want until you cancel the card.  Even worse if you fail to read the footer, they will have access to your card until you notice the charges.

Anytime someone is giving something away, assume it is a scam. If you are tempted by the sparkly giveaway being dangled in front of you, visit the company’s website using a bookmark or search engine result. If they are giving something away, it will be advertised on their official site.  Remember if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

Hackers using calendar events to deliver malicious links – 05/23/18

Hackers have discovered a new way to deliver malicious links, through your Google calendar. How? Simply by creating a calendar event and inviting you.

By default when you are invited to a Google calendar event, the event appears in your calendar whether you have responded to an invite or not. The sneaky hackers know that if you receive an email with an invite from someone you don’t recognize, the odds are great that you will simple delete it or ignore it. So, they create an event with a vague description and include a link to the meeting agenda but choose to not email the guests.

What the hackers hope is days or weeks later when you receive a meeting notification or see the event sitting in your calendar, you will think you have forgotten about a meeting and will open up the event and click on the link to view the agenda.  I know what you are thinking, I wouldn’t fall for that because I would check the meeting owner’s email. Ideally that is exactly what you would do, however when humans think they have messed up they tend to panic and click.

How do you protect yourself from the panic and click? You can change your event settings on your Google calendar. Go to Settings and select Event Settings. In the Automatically add invitations section, select No, only show invitations to which I have responded. This prevents events from being added to your calendar without an email invite so you can’t be ambushed.

Hackers capitalizing on GDPR policy updates – 05/15/18

Airbnb customers were the first reported targets for the GDPR policy update scam. However, hackers are now expanding their targets to include pretty much everybody.  As organizations update their privacy policies to meet GDPR requirements, emails are being sent out to their account holders to notify them of the changes. Mixed in with these legitimate notifications are more and more fake requests to accept new privacy policies.

This is just one more reminder to bypass links in an email and visit an organization’s web site directly using a URL that you know is legitimate whenever you are being asked to confirm anything. If you visit the web site and there is no notification, congratulations you have just dodged a cyber attack!

Airbnb phishing attack using GDPR regulations as the hook – 05/07/18

With May 25  around the corner, the entire world is panicking  about how the EU’s  General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will affect them.  Hackers are taking advantage of the confusion to send Airbnb customers phishing emails asking them to accept new privacy policies based on the GDPR regulations. They are told that they are not able to make further bookings until they do so.

This is a reminder to visit an organization’s website using a URL that you have bookmarked or find with a Google search, when you receive an email with a link or attachment in it. Any information that you need you will be able to access from their website. If you cannot find the information, the website will have a legitimate contact number listed that you can use to call them.  Under no circumstances should you ever click on a link in an email from an organization or company.



Cyber Safety Summit 2018 – 04/23/18

The Cyber Safety Summit 2018 will be held on October 2, 2018 at the Lincoln Park room in the Main Building of Mount Royal University’s campus.   The summit will include experts speaking on home security, social engineering, fraud protection and how to recover from a cyber attack.  In addition  we are  adding a new topic this year, protecting your privacy.  Registration is free.

Spend the whole day with us or just come by for your favourite session. Either way you have the opportunity to hear from the experts themselves how to keep your family and home cyber safe.  Come with your questions and concerns, leave armed with the knowledge you need to keep hackers at bay.

Can’t attend the summit? We will be live streaming all sessions.  Visit the website to review last year’s program and to sign up for Summit updates.

Mark your calendars now!!  See you on October 2, 2018!!


Those cute quizzes are sucking up data about you – 04/11/18

With the fallout from Facebook’s poor choices continuing, this is a great time to remind everyone that big brother is always watching. As fun as those cute little quizzes are on social media, you could be giving hackers everything they need to impersonate you.

Quizzes that ask you the name of your first pet, what was the first car you drove and where you went to school are thinly disguised attempts at getting a hold of the answers to privacy questions.  Outside of privacy questions, even seemingly innocent information about your past can be used against you in the wrong hands.

When it comes to quizzes, just don’t. Your privacy is not worth a few moments of entertainment.