This Week’s Cybersecurity News, 09/20/2023

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Good afternoon, everyone.

Today I have a non-threat to let you know about. I also have a couple of current threats you should be aware of, as scammers seem to be hitting a lot of mailboxes.

Current Non-Threat

  • University of Tennessee Employee Survey (email)
    • The sender is McLean & Company <>.
    • The subject is Please Respond: University of Tennessee Employee Survey.
    • The email went out to UT employees today.
    • This *is* legitimate, even though the emails look generic.
    • McLean & Company has been doing UT’s employee engagement surveys the last couple of years.
    • The emails do contain a link that is your own personal link, so please do not forward to others.
    • UT President Randy Boyd would like to have everyone complete the surveys in order to help find if and where improvements can be made throughout the University.
    • Please complete the survey by October 11, 2023, at 11:45pm EDT.

Current Threats

  • Email Account Verification (phishing)
    • Sender appears to be a current UT employee <>.
    • Subject is Memo from HR : Student & staff services alert.
    • The message content says that you need to verify your email address to confirm that the account belongs to you and adds that accounts not verified will be deactivated.
    • There is an additional “NOTE” that says if you have any other active email with any other school you need to validate that as well.
    • There is a “Confirm” button, but do NOT click the button.
    • The email is signed “IT Help Desk”.
    • Please note that, while the email is pretty short, there are a number of grammatical mistakes, which is often a sign of a scam email.
    • The email, if real, would have the signature and logo used by the OIT HelpDesk.
    • If you received this email or others like it, please forward it, along with the Internet header, using these instructions, Reporting Phishing Attempts.
  • Giveaway (phishing)
    • The email appears to be sent by a number of current employees with UT <>.
    • The subject is ADMINISTRATIVE: GIVING OUT FREE INSTRUMENTS or Giveaway: Don’t Miss OUT!!!!
    • The email states is that another person (not affiliated with UT) is downsizing and giving away his late wife’s items, including a baby grand piano and Eric Clapton’s guitar.
    • The email contains the person’s phone number has a New York City area code but the email is clear that you are not to call, but to text only.
    • The formatting of the email is varied throughout the email and there are many errors, as well.
    • While the scam itself is to get you to send your information to this person via text, it is a phishing email.
    • The catch here is that you will most definitely be told that the item of your choice will be sent to you and that all you have to do is pay the shipping fees.
    • Please do not give your information…you will not receive that item you hoped for.
    • If you received this email, please forward it, along with the Internet header, using these instructions, Reporting Phishing Attempts.

I owe a huge “thank you” to all those who notify me about potential scams. When I get lots of questions about the same things, it helps me to know what I should include in this newsletter. This means that you are really helping me write the newsletter for others.

Please let me know any time you have any questions or concerns when it comes to IT security. I am here to help you, so please don’t hesitate to ask!


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!