Be aware: Protect yourself from phishing attacks

As the start of the fall semester at Case Western Reserve University approaches, students, faculty and staff members should should take extra care to safeguard the security and privacy of their university information technology accounts, particularly their Network IDs and passwords. Perpetrators often target this time of year for sending fraudulent emails that seek to elicit your Network ID and password, as well as other forms of personal information.

This act, commonly known as phishing, is a global problem that grows more challenging as criminals invent new forms of deception. Information Technology Services (ITS) actively monitors and protects our environment, but individuals must be the first line of defense.

Case Western Reserve, including Human Resources, ITS and other campus offices, will never request confidential information, such as your university password, through email. In addition, refrain from clicking links in email messages that appear to be from Case Western Reserve. Often these links correspond with websites that look familiar, but they actually are fake pages designed to capture personal information.

When emails arrive in your inbox that contain hyperlinks, employ the “hover-check” to verify the validity of the links before clicking. To conduct a “hover-check,” place the cursor of your mouse—without clicking—over the hyperlink in the message. You will see the full web address associated with the hyperlink in the bottom left corner of your screen or adjacent to your cursor.

If the web address does not begin with “,” be wary of the link and contact the alleged sender by phone or a trusted email address to verify the authenticity of the message. You also may employ this method from smartphones or tablets by pressing and holding the hyperlink until a dialog box containing the underlying link appears.

To learn more about protecting your personal information online, visit the university’s information security website by typing into the address bar of your web browser. Assistance with matters of information security is available by contacting the ITS Service Desk at 216.368.HELP (4357) or