Carnegie Mellon University is one of the country’s foremost universities in various areas of technology, but that does not mean that Carnegie Mellon employees are any better than anyone else at recognizing phishing emails. Phishing remains the primary way that many major data breaches are initiated when employees of a company receive a legitimate appearing email that prompts the person receiving the email to click on a link under various guises. Unfortunately, what happens in many instances is that by clicking on the link, malware becomes installed that enables the hacker to steal information and data from the computer data banks of the company. This simple technique was how the Sony hacking and the recent billion dollar hacking of a hundred banks around the world was accomplished. Another way that phishing works is by luring the victims to enter their usernames and passwords into legitimate appearing communications thus providing that information to hackers and identity thieves. That is what happened to an undetermined number of Carnegie Mellon employees who were lured into providing their log-in information when they responded to an email entitled “Your Salary Raise Information.”
This phishing scam is particularly noteworthy because it once again shows that sophisticated, technologically savvy people can fall for the lures of phishing emails, which is why everyone should always be skeptical before responding to any email or text message that requires you to provide personal information or click on a link. In either situation, you can never be sure when you receive an email or text message that the communication is legitimate. So along with maintaining the latest security software on your electronic devices, it is important to make it a habit to never to provide personal information or click on links in response to text messages or emails until you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate.