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man frustrated by computer -- perhaps the victiom of a phishing scam

Since COVID-19 struck in March, Interpol reports that phishing attacks have increased by 59 per cent. Ninety-three per cent of IT security breaches are now a direct result of phishing.

Phishing is a form of attack that depends on tricking or fooling a victim into doing what the attacker wants. The attack begins with the attacker sending a message to the victim. It is a success if the victim reacts to the message.

“It is the technique of using a message as bait to lure or hook the victim that gives phishing its name,” says Kevin Macnaughton, team leader security in IT Service. “And it’s important to remember phishing messages can be sent by email, text (smishing), and voicemail (vishing).”

IT Services’ top four tips for spotting — and ultimately avoiding — phishing are:

  1. Consider the request in detail.
  • Is it an unusual or unexpected ask from the sender?
  • Is there an odd sense of urgency?
  • Does it ask you to open an attachment you were not expecting?
  • Does the message ask you to log in or provide personal information to a website?
  1. Examine the sender’s name and email address carefully. Do they look peculiar?
  1. Review the message. Does it contain spelling errors, bad grammar, odd formatting, or missing signatures?
  1. Check any links in the message. When you hover over them, are the web addresses suspicious?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, do not react to the message. Instead, if you think the message may be legitimate, contact the sender through a different communication channel to verify it.

Otherwise, report the message by forwarding it as an attachment to or contacting the IT Service Desk at 519-253-3000, ext. 4440.

To learn more ways to spot a phishing hook, see’t-take-bait.

Led by IT Services, Cybersecurity Awareness Month efforts highlight cybersecurity issues relevant to the UWindsor community. More information, along with how you can protect yourself, is available at

computer chip with lock on it

Information Technology Services upgraded the University’s firewall this morning, adding new features and capabilities, including better administration and management of VPN connections.

“This upgrade is an investment in the University’s work-from-home infrastructure,” says Kevin Macnaughton, team lead security, IT Services. “It improves security for those of us working remotely.”

The firewall upgrade occurred today between 6 and 8 a.m. Blackboard was the only major service deliberately brought down as a safeguard, while brief, one-to-two-minute interruptions affected Computer Science servers and VPN services.

If, however, you are experiencing problems after 8 a.m. today, please contact the IT Service Desk at 519-253-3000, ext. 4440.

IT Services also reminds campus community members to check for system statuses and service notifications. 

Tech Talk logo

Teaching a course and using your course team in Teams? Requested a team in Teams for your work group or a special project? You’re the team owner.

The team owner role is important. You manage the team by adding and removing members, setting up member permissions, and creating channels to keep conversations and work organized.

Watch Information Technology Services team member Carl Amlin as he walks through team owner basics in this two-part Tech Talk mini-series: Volume 1 (107 seconds) and Volume 2 (106 seconds).

Tech Talk is a presentation of IT Services. More Tech Talks are available at

Man looking frustrated at computer

Working and learning from home bring new considerations, including how to manage security issues to protect yourself, your work, and your personal information.

“While security can feel like just another thing on your to-do list, the consequences of not investing the time can have significant consequences on your personal life and the University if you’re the victim of a cyber attack,” says Kevin Macnaughton, team leader security in Information Technology Services. “It’s worth it to do your security homework.”

IT Services’ list of top three work from home security assignments includes:

  • Keep your operating system and applications, including anti-virus, up to date. Upgrade to Windows 10 if you haven’t already.
  • Use UWindsor’s Virtual Private Network (GlobalProtect) to access work accounts.
  • Keep your home network secure by using a wireless password that is at least 12 characters long and ensuring your wireless network uses encryption.

To get details on the tips above and learn more work from home security best practices, see

Led by IT Services, Cybersecurity Awareness Month efforts highlight cybersecurity issues relevant to the UWindsor community. More information, along with how you can protect yourself, can be found at

man appearing scared of computer

The University of Windsor will mark Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020 with its own all-digital campaign focused on themes that are particularly relevant to faculty, staff, and students working and learning online.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is an internationally recognized campaign held each October to inform the public of the importance of cybersecurity. This campaign is focused on helping all Canadians be more secure online by being informed and knowing the simple steps to take to protect themselves, their families, their workplaces, and their devices.

“We want to remind and educate the campus community about best practices around working from home, spotting phishing attempts, browsing safely, securing their mobile devices, and managing their workstations,” says Kevin Macnaughton, team leader security in Information Technology Services.

Each week throughout October, a key cybersecurity theme will be shared via DailyNews and UWindsor’s social media channels. More information is available at