ep's blog

Message on Phishing to IAS Faculty, Members, Vistors and Staff 2019-01-24

Dear Faculty, Members, Visitors, and Staff,

As we begin the Spring term at the Institute for Advanced Study, I would like to remind everyone about email safety.

Spotting a scam email can sometimes be difficult, both from an institutional level and an individual level.  We need to work together to protect ourselves from malicious emails, aka phishing messages.

Last night we received such a phish with a blank subject line from, "ITS Service Desk <jcmezzetti @ alaska.edu>".  I wrote up a quick analysis of this phish and how to spot scam emails on the IAS Security website here:

Spotting a scam email (aka a phish)

Issue

We are inundated with information nowadays, from the tweets, texts, TV, streaming, email, mentions, etc, etc.  This hectic lifestyle puts us into a mode of needing to respond as soon as possible to any interruption or notice that happens in our lives.  The problem is, malicious scam artists are aware that we are overwhelmed by the influx and are taking advantage of our vulnerability.  They do this by creating realistic looking emails and enticing us to click on them and enter our sensitive data before we realize it is a scam.

New system for remote access to IAS resources

Dear Faculty, Members, Visitors, and Staff,

We are pleased to introduce you to the next generation of secure remote access to IAS network resources when traveling or working from home.

Our new VPN system, known as OpenVPN, is easier to use, has a higher level of security, and is compatible with more devices than the previous system.  Via this announcement, we are encouraging everyone to transition their devices to the new platform.  To begin to leverage OpenVPN, please see the Installation Guide, located at:

Changes to Central Authentication Service (CAS) front page

Dear Staff,

I'm writing to let you know of a change happening on June 27th, 2018 to our Central Authentication Service (CAS) front page.  CAS is used for a single place to sign in for many of our websites that we use here at the IAS.  We are upgrading to a new version, which will involve an update to the front page where you type in your username and password.

Old CAS login screen:

New CAS login screen:

What do you do when you find out that you are the spammer?

Aww man, it's us

As a security professional, I spend a lot of my time making sure that the bad guys aren't able to break in.  I set up all the fancy firewalls and anti-virus to keep us safe.  But what happens when a user unknowingly gives up their credentials due to a phish?  Well, if you are lucky, the spammers just use it to spam the world.  If you are unlucky, the figure out how to attack the inside of your network to get to the crown jewels.

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