University of Wisconsin–Madison
Phishing hooks with @ symbols.

Big Ten university targeted in new phishing attempt

A new phishing attack on a Big Ten university reminds us to look out for scam emails, in particular, ones that state they are from the IRS.

Known scam subject linesSecurity experts at the University of Michigan are reporting a recent pair of phishing attacks. While the attacks are not directly related to UW-Madison, we have been advised to be on the lookout for similar scams.

At the University of Michigan, the attacker has used compromised accounts to send the emails and collect information through a Google Form.  The attacks stated they were “from the IRS,” but included a U of M email.

Phony IRS.gov Google Form site. Source: University of Michigan IT
Phony IRS.gov Google Form site. Source: University of Michigan IT

A second phish attempt was aimed at faculty, asking for a copy of a person’s paper.  A link from the email led to a phony copy of the U of M login page.  This attempt appears to be more transparent to the user, as many seem to recognize the scam and change their password immediately.

Example copy of a recent phishing message at U-M. Source: University of Michigan IT
Example copy of a recent phishing message at U-M. Source: University of Michigan IT

There is a concern that as University of Michigan security experts continue to shut down the attacker, they may move on to other campuses.

NetID login screenAt the University of Wisconsin-Madison, users log in to the campus network with a NetID and password.

  • Remember when logging in with your NetID, the URL starts with “https://login.wisc.edu“.
  • Never enter your NetID and password if you see a URL that doesn’t start with “https://login.wisc.edu”.

Make sure you are aware of what phishing is, and how to identify phishing attempts in your email.

Fake IT Help Desk, also using Google Forms to collect user info. Source: University of Michigan IT
Fake IT Help Desk, also using Google Forms to collect user info. Source: University of Michigan IT