This Week’s Cybersecurity News, 07/27/2023

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Happy Friday Eve!

In this edition of This Week’s Cybersecurity News, I want to tell you about current threats via email and text message, as well as information about some Apple updates that you need to have. And I have added information about a job opportunity with UTIA Information Technology Services.

Current Threats

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (phishing email)
    • The sender is, and the address right beside of that shows “” (notice the missing letter before the @).
    • The subject is Microsoft 365 security: Multi-Factor Authentication.
    • There is a QR code and the email says you have three days to scan with your phone.
    • Please do NOT scan the code!
    • This is definitely not Microsoft and it’s not a real address.
    • Our multi-factor authentication is still using Duo.
    • If you receive an email like this, please report it using the Reporting Phishing Attempts instructions.
  • More Email Scams (spear phishing email)
    • Spear phishing emails have not been as frequent as they have in the past, but they are always out there.
    • The sender appears to be your boss, someone in a leadership role, and even a co-worker, but the email is usually a gmail address.
    • The subject this time is Emergency, but it varies all the time.
    • The actual content is very brief and has a sense of urgency.
    • The message says the sender is in a meeting (or otherwise busy) and needs you to discreetly do something for them, but to only reply to this email.
    • These emails are NOT from your department head, dean, director, co-worker, or anyone else at UTIA or UT.
    • These emails are not sent to just one person, as the sender is sending to MANY people using the BCC: function.
    • The sender is using a list of recipients who have been targeted based on information gleaned from org charts, departmental websites, social media accounts, etc.
    • If you were to reply, but PLEASE don’t, the sender will most likely ask you to purchase some gift cards, email the codes from the cards, and they will pay you back later.
    • The person the email appears to be coming from has not been compromised because the UTK email address is not being used, just the person’s name.
    • If you receive this email, please report it using the Reporting Phishing Attempts instructions.
  • More Text Message Scams (smishing texts)
    • Just as the above emails continue, smishing (SMS text) scams continue, as well.
    • The sender appears to be your boss, someone in a leadership role with the Institute, and even a co-worker.
    • The text will make you think that the person has trusted you to do them a very important favor.
    • The text will have a sense of urgency, but the sender will say that they are very busy and ask you to reply via text only.
    • Once you reply, the sender will say that they need you to purchase some gift cards and to text them the codes from the cards, then will pay you back later.
    • Please DO NOT purchase gift cards for someone who asks via text (or email).
    • Please ignore the text and do not interact with the sender, as any interaction via this text will flag your number as a valid number and will put it on a list as a target for future, and possibly more dangerous, scams.
    • If for whatever reason you have responded to a scam such as this one, please report the scam to the credit card company whose card you used to make a purchase. (Some, not all, credit card companies may work with you to get your money back.)
    • Please file a complaint with the FCC at, giving as many details as possible. (They won’t get your money back, but they can work to stop the scammer from doing this to others.)
    • If your credit card company doesn’t help you, check your homeowner’s insurance to see if it covers fraud.

Browser, OS, and Software Updates

  • Apple
    • Apple has released security updates to address vulnerabilities in multiple products.
    • Please make sure you have applied all available updates for these products:
      • iOS 16.6 and iPadOS 16.6 (newer models)
      • iOS 15.7.8 and iPadOS 15.7.8 (older models)
      • macOS Ventura 13.5
      • macOS Monterey 12.6.8
      • macOS Big Sur 11.7.9
      • Safari 16.6
      • tvOS 16.6
      • watchOS 9.6
    • Exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to take control of the affected device.

Job Opportunity With UTIA Information Technology Services

  • IT Network and Server Manager
    • This position will manage the Institute’s Windows servers and will be the primary architect and subject matter expert for the statewide secured network environment that connects 110+ UTIA locations to UT Knoxville campus.
    • This position manages vendor relationships, requests quotes, and creates annual network equipment budgets. 
    • Please check out the complete job description for IT Network and Server Manager.
    • Also, feel free to share this information with others.

Thank you all so much for everything you do every single day to protect the Institute and its data. And a special thanks to all those who notify me when a new scam is being sent. Please let me know any time you have any questions or concerns when it comes to IT security!

Have a great rest of the week!


Important Note: Thank you so much for sharing these e-newsletters with family, friends, clients, students, and anyone else who may benefit from the information. I would like to stress that you should keep your students in mind, as non-employee students will not get this information without someone sharing. If anyone has an email group for students who are not employees of your department, please let me know what that address is and I can include it. I do this as a blind copy so student names and addresses will not show up!