CIO Shawn Belling issues phishing warning

DATE:  February 18, 2019

TO: All Faculty and Staff

FROM: Shawn Belling, Chief Information Officer (interim)

RE: Technology Services Phishing Warning

Madison College Information Security has identified Phishing emails targeting Madison College faculty and staff who receive high volumes of invoices, purchase orders and payment-related messaging. These targeted spear phishing e-mails contain standard Microsoft Office files (.doc, .xls, etc) with embedded macros, which will download computer viruses when opened.

These cyber criminals are targeting Madison College administrators, payroll personnel and office assistants. These spear phishing e-mails appear to be individualized, but most of the email samples appear to be templates or forms.  They may even use spoofed Madison College users as the sender. This phishing campaign is deliberate, persistent, and presents significant risk to the college due to the advanced malware and techniques used.

The most prevalent virus is EMOTET. EMOTET is a banking Trojan, steals financial account information and sensitive personal data.  Trend Micro, an antivirus and security firm, tracked EMOTET and identified 8,528 unique URLs, 5,849 documents, and 571 executables between June 1, 2018 and September 15, 2018.  Since September, these numbers have likely increased substantially.  Trend Micro also tracked the source of this Trojan to a time zone in Eastern Russia.  The current versions of EMOTET could provide full remote access, collect Outlook contact lists, keystrokes, passwords and camera/microphone usage.

Madison College Information Security or the Helpdesk will reach out to you if our systems detect a virus. However, if you see a virus alert, please contact the Technology Services Helpdesk immediately at 608.246.6666 and someone will walk you through the next steps. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly or contact the Technology Services Helpdesk for assistance. 


Published February 18, 2019.