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Results of February 2020 Phishing Awareness Simulation

Company response rate 10.44 per cent

This February, IT Services, in partnership with Cyber Risk Aware, conducted a phishing awareness simulation, where all staff in Trinity received an email that appeared to come from your Microsoft Email Quarantine with the subject line “Spam Notification: 1 New Messages”. This email included a number of hyperlinks to external websites and an attachment, a Word document titled “December Arrears – 2019 Payroll”.

This email was a harmless simulated Phishing attack, which was sent in order to raise awareness of the dangers of interacting with phishing emails and to show how easy it can be to fall victim.

Our results indicate that out of 5,000 emails sent out to the Trinity community, 522 staff members (10.44%) interacted with the email, either opening the attachment or clicking on hyperlinks. In this instance, clicking on the links or the attachment was harmless, however, in real phishing incidents it can have severe consequences.

As Trinity staff, we need to remain vigilant when it comes to protecting ourselves against phishing. We have been entrusted with access to a vast amount of Trinity data, regardless of where within the University we work. Should hackers get access to even one Trinity IT account, the impact could include:

  • Reputational damage
  • Intellectual Property loss
  • Unauthorised access to important College data, such as financial and HR information, contract documents, and student information
  • Illicit access to your email, your contacts, and shared inboxes
  • & your stolen login details could be used to access Trinity’s electronic journals

IT Services are committed to promoting IT security throughout the University and providing staff and students with information on how to spot and deal with phishing emails.

For further information, visit https://www.tcd.ie/itservices/security/phishing.php


Breakdown of February 2020 Phishing Results:

  • Sent to 5,000 staff
  • 522 staff interacted with email
    • 460 staff only clicked a hyperlink
    • 32 staff only opened the attachment
    • 30 staff clicked a hyperlink and opened the attachment
  • Engagement rate: 10.44%