IT Center Blog

Keeping You Safe II – Our Security Note on Spear-Phishing Attacks

December 11th, 2019 | by


Targeted Phishing: Spear Phishing is a serious threat to our data.
Source: Pixabay


According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), both universities and research institutions are in danger regarding them. What we are talking about here are spear phishing attacks. This is the technical term for very tricky cyber-attacks with targeted e-mails. This time, however, the wave of attacks is particularly vicious: the mails that are sent contain links to realistically simulated fake websites of the particular institutions and request users to enter their access data.


In October 2019, the first warning message was already announced due to the situation. Already then, the attackers sent the insidious mails in German. At first glance, they seem deceptively realistic. Only the mail header hinted that something was wrong, as the original mails were supposed to come from a server rented in France. With a well-trained eye, one was able to recognize the fake signatures in the attacker mails or the registration number “SCO14336” used almost universally.


Currently, there are indications that institutions in more than 30 countries are affected by Spear phishing attacks. It is likely that German universities will also be affected by this month’s attacks.


So, what should you do?


First and foremost, it is important to be sensitized to such attacks. Under no circumstances, you should open links or even enter data on corresponding websites.


If you receive dubious e-mails, which sound very similar, you should contact us as soon as possible. This way you can help in protecting others from data theft.


You are curious and want to know more about Spear-Phishing attacks? Click here:


Responsible for the content of this article is Liza Schwarz.

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