Phishing - What is it and how to avoid it!

'Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication' - Wikipedia

How to Detect a Phishing Email

How to Detect a Phishing Email

Phishing is a form of online fraud. In a typical phishing incident, you may receive an email or pop-up message that claims to be from IT Services or another business or organisation that you may have previously dealt with for example eBay or Bank of Ireland. The message may ask you to ‘update,’ ‘validate,’ or ‘confirm’ your account information.

Trinity staff and students should treat any email that asks for your username and password details with extreme caution. The consequences of falling victim to a phishing attempt are not limited to your own account, but could affect the Trinity community as a whole. One compromised account could potentially endanger vast amounts of sensitive data. Or, one compromised account distributing large amounts of spam could result in Trinity losing email as a service entirely for a period of time.

Always trust your instincts, if an email offers something that looks too good to be true, it possibly is. Similarly don’t be tempted to respond hastily to an email that threatens to disable your account. Check the IT Services website or give the IT Service Desk a call if you are unsure whether an email is genuine or not.

Phishing emails often have the following types of characteristics:

  • They may use language like ‘important notice’, ‘urgent update’ or ‘alert’ or ‘violation’ with a deceptive subject line to persuade you that the email has come from a trusted source.
  • They may contain messages that use threatening language, stating that your account will be disabled if you do not act.
  • They may appear to come from someone in Trinity but you should be aware that email addresses can be forged easily.
  • They may copy content such as logos and images used on legitimate websites to make the email look genuine.
  • They may contain hyperlinks that will redirect you to a fraudulent website instead of the genuine links that are displayed. If you see a link in a suspicious email message, don’t click on it. Rest your mouse (but don’t click) on the link to see if the address matches the link typed in the message.

Have a look at the example of a phishing message sent to Trinity users below:

Phishing email example

See our web page on how to report a phishing email.

Finally, remember...

IT Services will never ask for your username and password in any email we send. You can confirm the validity of any communications from us by searching our website or by contacting the IT Service Desk.