Security Threats

What kinds of security threats are there? Every day we hear about spam, viruses, phishing attacks, social engineering, and stolen equipment which have lead to systems, data, and personal information to be compromised. It is important to be aware and identify these security threats to secure systems and data.

Phishing attacks are emails that look like they are coming from an authentic sender such as Western or your bank but are actually from cyber criminals with malicious intent. Usually phishing emails have an urgency to them, requiring you to take immediate action. For example, some phishing attacks may tell you that your email account is over capacity or your bank account may be closed unless you take immediate action.

To identify a phishing attack look for emails with:

  • bad spelling or odd formatting
  • requests for passwords and personal information
  • links with suspicious web addresses
  • or threats to delete or close an account if you don't act immediately.

In order to protect yourself from a phishing attack:

  • do not open spam email from unknown or unsolicited sources
  • do not open attachments from unknown sources or attachments you are not expecting
  • do not click on links to a website in emails from unknown sources
  • do not provide private information such as passwords, bank information, or social insurance numbers
  • confirm with the person sending the email if they really sent it
  • and always be cautious of emails that look too good to be true.

If you receive a phishing email, contact ITS at Western immediately. Cyber criminals also pretend to be people you trust like a colleague, a bank, or even Western to trick you into revealing confidential information, clicking on a malicious link, or downloading a dangerous file or software. All of these tactics are used to give cyber criminals access to your computer and your personal information such as passwords, pin codes, and social insurance numbers. These are called social engineering attacks which can happen by phone, email, in person, instant messaging, or on social network sites. If you believe your account has been compromised, contact ITS at Western immediately.


Published on  and maintained in Cascade CMS.