Phishing | NorthWest Arkansas Community College

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Phishing is the most common type of cyber-attack that affects organizations like NWACC. Phishing attacks can take many forms, but they all share a common goal – getting you to share sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card information, or bank account details. Although we maintain systems to help protect our networks and computers from cyber threats, we rely on you to be our first line of defense.

We’ve outlined a few different types of phishing attacks to watch out for:

  • Phishing:In this type of attack, hackers impersonate a real company to obtain your login credentials. You may receive an e-mail asking you to verify your account details with a link that takes you to an imposter login screen that delivers your information directly to the attackers.
  • SpearPhishing: Spear phishing is a more sophisticated phishing attack that includes customized information that makes the attacker seem like a legitimate source. They may use your name and phone number and refer to NWACC in the e-mail to trick you into thinking they have a connection to you, making you more likely to click a link or attachment that they provide.
  • Whaling:Whaling is a popular ploy aimed at getting you to transfer money or send sensitive information to an attacker via email by impersonating a real company executive. Using a fake domain that appears similar to our domain, they look like normal emails from a high-level official of the company, typically the CEO or CFO, and ask you for sensitive information (including usernames and passwords). We have had numerous examples of people trying to impersonate Dr. Rittle, as an example.
  • Shared DocumentPhishing: You may receive an e-mail that appears to come from file-sharing sites like Dropbox or Google Drive alerting you that a document has been shared with you. The link provided in these e-mails will take you to a fake login page that mimics the real login page and will steal your account credentials.
  • Check-Cashing SchemePhishing: The fake check scam can look different depending on the reason the victim is asked to cash and then send funds. Many versions of this scam are job-related (we have observed several recently asking for pet-sitting services). When the victim establishes contact with the fraudster, they attempt to convince a victim to cash a check and then send, via wire transfer, a portion of the money to another location. The portion kept by the victim can be called payment for a job, part of a commission, or a prize. However, the check turns out to be a very convincing fake.


What You Can Do

To avoid these phishing schemes, please observe the following email best practices:

  • Do not click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize. Be especially wary of .zip or other compressed or executable file types.
  • Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email.
  • Watch for email senders that use suspicious or misleading domain names.
  • Inspect URLs carefully to make sure they’re legitimate and not imposter sites.
  • Do not try to open any shared document that you’re not expecting to receive.
  • If you can’t tell if an email is legitimate or not, please contact our Technology Support Desk 
  • Be especially cautious when opening attachments or clicking links if you receive an email containing a warning banner indicating that it originated from an external source.

Thank you for helping to keep the college’s network and members safe from these cyber threats. Contact if you have any questions.