Be aware phishing attacks are on the rise

Scammers have stepped up their efforts to trick Brenau faculty and staff into following malicious links or attachments. These attacks are referred to as “phishing,” which Merriam-Webster defines as “a scam by which an Internet user is duped (as by a deceptive e-mail message) into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly.” Lately, scammers have been reading our website to determine our reporting structures. This helps them target their attacks by sending users an email that pretends to be from a direct supervisor.

When receiving any email, please ask yourself the following questions before clicking on any links:

  • Does the FROM: address (look at the actual email address, not just the display name) end in @brenau.edu?
  • Is the email from a @gmail.com, @hotmail.com, or @yahoo.com account but pose as a Brenau user?

Also look for these indicators:

  • Email addresses designed to “look” like real addresses, such as username.brenau.edu@gmail.com
  • Suspicious spelling or grammar which hint the sender is not a native English speaker
  • Banners from Google saying things like: “This user is not in your domain” or “email is suspicious”

When in doubt, call the sender on the phone and see if they sent the email to you. Unfortunately these types of attacks do not yet have a technical solution. It is up to each of us to use our critical thinking skills to determine what is real and what isn’t.