UTEP warns of fake emails


File Photo

U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, has been selected to succeed Dr. Diana Natalicio as UTEP president. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Defense.)

Marisol Chavez, Web Editor

The UTEP community experienced a phishing attack last Wednesday when about 400 fake emails were sent asking for a favor in President Heather Wilson’s name, according to the UTEP Information Security Office (ISO).

“Hi how are you doing? I need a favor from you. Regards, Heather.” The email read.

An email from ISO alerting the UTEP community about the attack was sent in “no time” after the incident, according to Stephen Riter, Ph.D., UTEP Vice President for Information Resources and Planning.

Although that specific sender has already been blocked by the ISO, Riter advises the UTEP community to always be alert about phishing emails.

“There’s a whole industry of people in this country and not so friendly countries who go to work every day and try to design these kinds of things to steal people’s money,” Riter said.

According to Riter, a message from the president asking you a favor can be very psychologically attractive because of the position of power that they hold, but that thousands of simpler phishing emails are blocked every day in which the sender pretends to be a classmate or colleague asking for money to “get out of trouble”. About these emails, he advises the community to be skeptical and to always doubt them.

“The people who send them out know a lot about the psychology of recipients, so they’ll make them look as close as they can to a genuine request,” Riter said. “These can be very, very seductive. If you have the slightest doubt, forward it to the Security Office”

He finally added that, if you were to receive an email like this, to forward it to the ISO at [email protected] for review. This way, awareness about the fake email can be spread, and the sender can be blocked. He also advised to never provide personal information or give out your credentials.

“We have [your credentials]. We would never ask for them,” Riter said.