Inside ABC: Awareness, Behavior, and Culture

People using online learning

The WashU Office of Information Security (OIS) takes a holistic approach to security training and awareness. Our goal goes way beyond raising awareness through a required annual training. The Awareness, Behavior, and Culture (ABC) team aims to foster a resilient and adaptable security culture so WashU Community members know what to look out for, how […]

October 20: Microsoft applications may require users to reauthenticate

Mark your calendar Microsoft applications may require users to reauthenticate On the evening of October 20, WashU IT will enhance the university’s cloud-based Microsoft services. As a result, users may see authentication (login) prompts on Microsoft applications such as Teams, Outlook, Office, and OneDrive on their devices. These prompts are expected. Completing the WUSTL Key […]

SECURED is Getting a New Look

SECURED newsletter design in the new template

Starting with our June edition, SECURED will have a new look. Information Security is a big part of the future of IT at WashU, so we are aligning our published content with the rest of the great information and news coming from WashU IT. You can learn more about WashU IT’s strategic plan on the […]

Phishing Alert: Student Job Offer

Sample email of a fake student job scam

How this scam works WashU students are reporting they are receiving fraudulent job offers promising hundreds of dollars per week. The scammer will often ask you to move the conversation to some different, non-WashU messaging platform, like text, before requesting sensitive information like social security numbers, bank account information, etc. What you should do If […]

Secure Electronic Waste & Paper Shredding Drive on Danforth Campus

Photo of electronic waste

On Tuesday, March 28, from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, the Office of Sustainability and WashU Office of Information Security are teaming up to bring the WashU community e-waste recycling and confidential paper shredding services. Certified vendors will securely and safely recycle all confidential papers and hard drives. All are welcome to bring accepted items […]

Win Up To $1,000 in Our Cybersecurity Awareness Month Test Your Knowledge Competition

Trophy with five stars

The Office of Information Security (OIS) is always looking for ways to improve your security and reward your participation in our efforts. For this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we broadened the range of topics covered by our knowledge test, and we increased our prize amounts accordingly. We hope that taking this quiz and playing the […]

Helpful Resources for Students (and Everyone Else)

Return to College

Welcome back! We know you’ll be busy as the semester begins, so we’ve pulled together resources to help you with a variety of common security needs. See below for our roundup of guidance to help you get in the swing of the semester! Devices Device security is essential for protecting your privacy and data. Sound […]

Scam of the Month: Student-Focused Scams

Student Aid Scam Sample

As school begins on campuses nationwide, criminals turn their attention to scams targeting students who are busy preparing for the upcoming semester. Criminals frequently rely on timely topics and strategies to exploit their victims. Below, you will find examples of real scam emails reported to our team within the last month. As we all gear […]

Chance to Win $100 in Our Monthly Challenge

Trophy with five stars

The OIS is always looking for ways to improve your security and reward your participation in our efforts. This month, we want to point you toward a couple of resources that will help you protect yourself from cybercrime and understand how our office can support you. Guidance for Reporting Phishing Have you seen the Phish […]

InfoSec Alert: Critical Security Updates for Apple Devices (iOS, macOS)

Apple recently released a critical software update for all iOS (iPhones and iPads) and macOS devices designated iOS 15.6.1 and macOS 12.5.1. With the launch of these updates, Apple took the increasingly common step of alerting users that these updates patch vulnerabilities that criminals may actively exploit. Please update your iOS and macOS devices as […]

Vulnerability Management Project: Expanded Server Protection

Data Center Servers

Overview The WashU Information Security team is actively engaged in keeping our network and data safe. Through the Security Vulnerabilities Project, one of the team’s main objectives is to expand server protection throughout WashU. Why A recent serious security incident was detected early because a server had the WashU Falcon CrowdStrike sensor installed. Due to […]

Chance to Win $100 in Our Monthly Challenge

Trophy with five stars

The OIS is always looking for ways to improve your security and reward your participation in our efforts. This month, we want to point you towards a couple of resources that will help you protect yourself from cybercrime and understand how our office can support you. Guidance for Reporting Phishing Have you seen the Phish […]

Scam of the Month: Fake (Real) Invoice Scam

The Office of Information Security has observed a trend where criminals are sending fraudulent invoices to unsuspecting victims in hopes that they will be paid without the recipient noting that they are part of a scam. The tricky part of this particular scam is that the invoices are actually generated by payment handlers like PayPal. […]

Chance to Win $100 in Our Monthly Challenge

Trophy with five stars

The OIS is always looking for ways to improve your security and reward your participation in our efforts. This month, we want to point you towards a couple of resources that will help you protect yourself at home and while traveling. Guidance for Reporting Phishing Have you seen the Phish Alert Button? It’s the easiest […]

Joint IT and InfoSec Project Seeks Better Protections for WashU

Storage servers in data room

A joint Information Technology and Office of Information Security vulnerability management project aims to strengthen and better protect the WashU network from attacks.  The project has two main objectives: Install CrowdStrike on all Wash U servers immediately. Remediate tool-evaluated critical vulnerabilities, guiding department owners through updates, patches, and other steps. About Objective 1 WashU IT […]

Scam of the Month: Urgent Administrative Job Opportunity

This month’s scam is a recent and widespread phishing attack that attempted to use social engineering and impersonation to gain account access. If you see a message like the one below, please report it immediately using the Phish Alert Button (PAB) in your Outlook interface. You can find more information about the PAB and alternative […]

SMiShing Scam Seeks to Obtain Gift Cards by Impersonating Chancellor

SMiSh Example

A recent SMiShing scam targeted our institution by impersonating Chancellor Martin and asking recipients for gift cards. You can rest assured that the chancellor (or your supervisor) will not reach out to ask for gift cards. SMiShing is a type of attack that uses the social engineering tactics commonly associated with email phishing via text […]

Website Scavenger Hunt with $250 prize and New Protections in Office 365

Trophy with five stars

The Office of Information Security’s website is full of helpful resources and information for keeping you more secure online. To encourage you to become more familiar with what our website has to offer, the OIS office is holding a virtual scavenger hunt featuring a chance to win $250 in Bear Bucks! How to Participate Follow […]

Chance to Win $250 with OIS Website Scavenger Hunt

Trophy with five stars

The Office of Information Security’s website is full of helpful resources and information for keeping you more secure online. To encourage you to become more familiar with what our website has to offer, the OIS office is holding a virtual scavenger hunt featuring a chance to win $250 in Bear Bucks! How to Participate Follow […]

Scam of the Month: Authenticate Your Account

This month’s scam is a recent and widespread phishing attack that attempted to use social engineering and impersonation to gain account access. This one is particularly tricky, but it uses a very common set of steps that criminals deploy to steal account credentials. The user receives the suspicious email, in this case from an ‘@wustl’ […]

Catch a Phish to Protect Yourself and WashU

Phishing is the most common tactic cybercriminals use to steal login credentials, data, and intellectual property. Billions of these messages are sent every day, but it’s now easier than ever to protect yourself and WashU by helping the Office of Information Security (OIS) catch the phish and remove it from our system. The Phish Alert […]

Advice from a Graduating Student: Things to do as You Leave WashU

Woman moving with boxes

By Harrison Stites As members of our community graduate or otherwise move on from their time at WashU, it can be tempting to ignore or put off the things you need to do here as you look forward to the path ahead. WashU’s Office of Information Security offers you some tips and tricks to help […]

Avoid Phishing and Another Chance to Win $100 in Bear Bucks

Trophy with five stars

The OIS is always looking for ways to improve your security and reward your participation in our efforts. This month, we want to point you towards a couple of resources that will help us identify and report potential phishing attacks. Have you seen the Phish Alert Button? It’s the easiest way for you to report […]

Scam of the Month: Important Payroll Message

Example of Important Payroll Message Phish

This month, we’re focusing on a particularly tricky scam. This one isn’t tricky because it’s complex on its surface; it actually relies on simplicity and brevity to lure in its victims. This scam mimics an important notification to trick recipients into handing over sensitive login information. It contains many hallmarks of a typical phish, but […]

Meet Your InfoSec Team: Jason Murray, Assistant Director and Architect of Digital Forensics and Incident Response

Jason Murray - Assistant Director and Architect of Digital Forensics and Incident Response

Jason Murray, Assistant Director and Architect of Digital Forensics and Incident Response, describes his role as the leader of “a team of talented Security Analysts who defend the university from cyber villains.” Throughout his career, he’s subscribed to the design principle, “build it secure,” considering the methods hackers might use to exploit flaws and access […]

Another Chance to Win and New Defender Features Coming to Office 365

Trophy with five stars

The OIS is always looking for ways to improve your security and reward your participation in our efforts. This month, we’re introducing new security features in Office 365 and running another prize competition! March Prize Giveaway We had a great turnout for our February Information Security prize giveaway, so we’re doing it again this month! […]

Scam of the Month: Ukraine Donation Scam

This month, we’re focusing on another scam that preys on your emotions and altruistic intentions. This time, it involves cybercriminals taking advantage of fundraising for Ukraine. In just one week, legitimate fundraising for Ukraine mobilized more than $50 million in cryptocurrency. That kind of success always attracts opportunists who want their cut. This time, they’re […]

Meet Your InfoSec Team: Quint Smith, Information Security Training and Communications Manager

For the past three years, Quint Smith, Information Security Training and Communications Manager, has been building and managing the InfoSec marketing, communications, and culture program. He aims to encourage an informed, aware, and empowered user community, resilient to the continually evolving cyber threat landscape. He says, “information security is an arms race, and technical defenses […]

Electronic Waste & Paper Shredding Drives this March

E-Waste Recycling Event Flyer

On Tuesday, March 22 and Tuesday, March 29, the Operations & Facilities Management Department, the Office of Sustainability, and WashU’s Office of Information Security are teaming up to bring the WashU community e-waste recycling and confidential paper shredding services. All are welcome to bring accepted items to the collection drive. All confidential papers and hard […]

Increased Risk of State-Sponsored Cyberattacks as Russia Invades Ukraine

Illustration of anonymous cyberattacker

The threat of state-sponsored cyberattacks increasingly accompanies international relations. Russia has developed and demonstrated its capacity to attack and inflict damage using cyber-warfare tactics. With news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many cybersecurity professionals are recommending increased vigilance during this period of unrest. While much of the responsibility for anticipating and preventing cyberattacks of this […]

Security Tips for Working From Home

Woman working form home desk

By now, we’re all intimately familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of working from home. You may have been working from home for most of the pandemic, are a hybrid employee, or simply take your work or devices home for breaks and weekends. Whatever your unique situation, you probably have direct experience walking the increasingly […]

Seven Lucky Winners and More Chances to Win Prizes!

Trophy with five stars

The results of our 2021 Cybersecurity Awareness Month competitions are in! Our office has selected seven lucky winners. If you’re a winner, we will contact you at your WUSTL email address to request the information we need to deliver your award. If you didn’t win this time, don’t despair! Read on for information about future […]

Scam of the Month: Fake Norton or Geek Squad Call Scam

Geek Squad scam attempt

Attackers are using criminal Gmail accounts to target members of our institution with a phishing scam that involves requesting the recipient call a phone number for additional information. The attackers use dozens of Gmail accounts, using each account to target only one or a few users and modifying minor details to avoid detection. As a […]

Meet Your InfoSec Team: Bob Therina, Information Security Analyst II

Bob Therina with plane

Bob Therina, Information Security Analyst II, came to Information Security after training and working in Computer Technology and the IT-sphere more broadly. He humbly reports that he sees himself as a generalist rather than an expert, capable of working across the IT space, building bridges between colleagues with deep expertise in a variety of areas. […]

InfoSec Alert: Update Google Chrome Immediately to Address Zero-Day Vulnerability

Earlier this week, a member of Google’s threat analysis group discovered a vulnerability in Google Chrome that would allow attackers to execute arbitrary code or corrupt data on impacted machines. Google released a fix for this exploit soon after, and all Chrome users should be sure to update their browsers immediately. Chrome should update each […]

Phishing Awareness Phase II: Competition Winners to be Notified

The Office of Information Security recently added several layers of phishing protection for our institution. We hope you have located, and perhaps even used, the new Phish Alert Button (PAB). Last week, our office distributed our first university-wide message from the KnowBe4 platform, asking users to report it as a phish using the PAB to […]

Security Advice from a Busy Student

Fingerprint and padlock on digital screen

By Jack Ballenger (Class of 2024) During these two weeks of virtual classes, students will need to use Duo Mobile, an app for two-factor authentication (2FA), to access Canvas, Outlook, WebStac, and other WashU resources since they are not connected to campus WiFi. Two-factor authentication, also called multi-factor authentication (MFA) or two-step authentication, supplements your […]

How to Take Back Control of Your Data This Data Privacy Week

Are you airing your dirty laundry?

Adapted from The National Cybersecurity Alliance, January 2022 From social media to online shopping, our lives and the digital world become more intertwined every day. The digital world affords us a new level of convenience and access to information, but there may be a hidden cost to your privacy associated with these conveniences. Consumers must […]

Data Privacy Fast Facts

Keep not Private

Adapted from National Cybersecurity Alliance In Case You Missed It Protecting the World’s Most Valuable ResourceWashington University Office of Information Security, December 2021

Scam of the Month: SMiShing and 3 Viruses Detected Scam

Example SMiSh with 3 Viruses Scam

The Office of Information Security has received reports of a SMiShing campaign targeting people at our institution. SMiShing occurs when cybercriminals use tactics common to phishing campaigns in text messages, attempting to communicate legitimacy to their unsuspecting victim. The reported scam (pictured below) is a text-based version of a common and long-running scam that is […]

Meet Your InfoSec Team: Christina Pomianek-Smith, Policy and Risk Analyst

Photo of InfoSec Analyst Christina Pomianek-Smith

Information security involves solving complex problems, incorporating diverse perspectives to address the technical, legal, social, and behavioral dimensions of the digital era. Christina Pomianek-Smith’s recent move into information security demonstrates the multidisciplinary demands of the field. She is a cultural anthropologist by training (PhD, University of Missouri—Columbia, 2012), with research interests in trust, cooperation, and […]

It’s the Scam, Scamiest Season of All!

Dog Shopping Image

The holidays have arrived! These final weeks of the year are extremely busy for many of us. People are traveling, shopping, awaiting packages, making end-of-year-donations, and trying to put a pin in 2021. Cybercriminals know and await these frenzied times. They especially like seasons of heightened online shopping and financial transactions because impersonating a bank, […]

Best of: A Lookback at 2021

2022 Loading Image

What a year! We’ve continued to adapt to new working environments, a return to campus, new technologies, and novel cyberthreats. The Office Information Security launched a monthly newsletter, ran university-wide competitions, and engaged the WashU community with a slate of events and communications for Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Once again, we are proud to be among […]

The Realities of Ransomware

Ransomware is scary

By: Harrison Stites (class of 2022) Ransomware accounted for over 80 percent of the cybersecurity attacks in the education sector in 2020, according to the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report. Healthcare organizations such as BJC (and, by extension, WashU) are significant targets for ransomware attacks because they work with Personal Health Information (PHI) and other […]

Scam of the Month: COVID Omicron Phishing

Security researchers are warning of an uptick in phishing attacks targeting universities themed around COVID, Omicron, and testing information. These attackers seek to steal valuable information and often have the goal of tricking users into handing over their university (or other) log-in credentials. Below, you will find an example of a phishing message using Omicron […]

Meet Your InfoSec Team: James Gagliarducci, Information Security Director

James Photo

James Gagliarducci, Director of Information Security, an electrical engineer by training and a security whiz by experience and certification, started out designing radar systems for the Department of Defense. He joined WashU IT as a network engineer in the 90s. Remembering those days, James says, “I loved it.” When the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability […]

Have a Happy (and Secure) Thanksgiving

Turkeys Photo

People across America are preparing to travel over the river and through the wood, visiting friends and family for Thanksgiving. The American Automobile Association predicts more than 53 million people will travel for Thanksgiving this year, an increase of 13% from 2020 and the most significant single-year increase since 2005. Many of us are eager […]

Online Holiday Shopping Scams

Black Friday Shopping Dog

Winter-holiday shopping of yesteryear kicked off with the deep discounts and early-bird specials of Black Friday, a retail frenzy on the day after Thanksgiving. Traditionally, shoppers forwent their post-feast dreams, waking early to await doorbuster sales at their favorite retailers. Today, shoppers avoid the crowd, line, and occasional brawl by shopping online. The move to […]

Last Chance for Prizes and Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 Recap

Bear Bucks Logo

Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 is in the rearview mirror! This year, we set out on the Road to Cybersecurity together. We hosted several events, sent out weekly security tips, and published a great newsletter full of original content authored by WashU’s information security staff. Competitions Our Cybersecurity Awareness Month competitions are always popular. In 2020, […]