Security Alerts

Security Video of the Month

posted May 2, 2018, 9:24 AM by Holly Magnuson

YouTube Video

Cloud Security Awareness

posted Jan 4, 2018, 9:36 AM by Holly Magnuson

SANS Security Awareness Training

The Top 5 malware threats targeting Macs

posted Nov 16, 2017, 11:37 AM by Holly Magnuson

Malware aimed at Macs reached an all-time high in 2017. These are the largest threats to watch out for:
  1. Adware - represented 17% of the Mac threats found, with 41 million detections. 
  2. Blacklisted websites - these malicious sites, represented 14% of detected threats. They may exploit browser vulnerabilities and send spyware to the user.
  3. Potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) - These are suspicious files that enter a system by attaching themselves to downloads. They sometimes act as spyware. (5% of malware detections.)
  4. Trojans - Disguised as legitimate software, Trojans are often used by cybercriminals to gain access to your system and steal data. 
  5. Ransomware - One of the largest threats of the year across all systems. These attacks often enter a computer via a phishing email, and lock files or critical systems until the user agrees to pay a ransom - or has a backup available. 
For tips on how Mac users can best secure their data, click here

Netflix Email Phishing Scam

posted Nov 7, 2017, 3:01 PM by Holly Magnuson

A new email scam is targeting millions of Netflix subscribers.

The email tells customers that their account is about to be canceled and that Netflix needs their billing information.

It then directs them to a fake Netflix website, where customers are asked to log in and enter their personal information.

Don't fall for it. Netflix says it's taking security measures to stop the scam.

Apple vs Turkish Hackers

posted Apr 5, 2017, 9:52 AM by Shawn Kohrman   [ updated Apr 6, 2017, 10:11 AM ]

Apple vs. Turkish Hackers
You may have heard that Apple has been contacted by a Turkish hacker group who threatens to remote wipe a large number of Apple devices if their ransom demands are not met.

What do the hackers want with my stuff?

Nothing in this case.  The hackers claim that they will wipe millions of Apple devices and their iCloud backups unless Apple pays a ransom.
Typically, hackers will target a person’s personal accounts (think Apple ID or personal Google account) for the purpose of identity theft or credit fraud.

Is the threat real?

While it is possible that Apple could have had their security compromised, the technical details around making something like this work at the scale the hackers claim to be capable of make it unlikely.
Security professionals around the globe are leaning towards weak passwords or the same password used for multiple things being the most likely credible threat.

What should I do?

If you have an Apple device, the IMT Security Office recommends doing 2 things.
  1. Make sure your Apple ID/iCloud account uses a strong password that you don’t use anywhere else.  For tips on creating a strong password visit the IMT Security Office website at
  2. Turn on Apple’s 2 factor authentication.  Instructions for using this are available at
For an extra layer of security, if you use a personal Google account, turn on Google’s 2 factor authentication.  Instructions for this are available at

Phishing Alert

posted Feb 27, 2015, 3:22 PM by Shawn Kohrman

In recent months IMT has seen a significant increase in the number of phishing attempts all across campus.  While many people are doing a great job of spotting and reporting these, some users have become victims of the attack.

IMT has been collecting samples of phishing emails for you to view at in the Latest SPAM and PHISHING Messages article.  

Additionally, IMT has setup a special email address for you to forward any emails that look odd for verification.  That email address is  Sending an email there will help us stop these emails.  

5 Million Gmail Usernames, Passwords Stolen [UPDATED]

posted Sep 10, 2014, 2:36 PM by Shawn Kohrman   [ updated Sep 22, 2014, 3:56 PM ]

A variety of news outlets and media sources are reporting that 5 million usernames and passwords have been stolen from Google.

A number of key points must be acknowledged while considering what this means for you as an individual and as a member of the APU community.

Don't Panic
  • Most of the data appears to be over a year old.  So, if you've changed your Gmail password in the last year this may not affect you.
  • Google has announced to the public that none of its servers or services show any evidence of a breach.  These usernames/passwords appear to have been gathered primarily from personal computers infected with malware.
  • A  tool is available to check if your address is on the list.

How Do I Check?

A tool has been put online that will check your email address against the published list.  If your email address comes up the in list, please change your password immediately.

The tool is available at

Help! I'm on the List

If your email address comes back as being on the list, there are a few simple steps you can take to protect yourself.
  1. Change your Gmail password immediately.  Tips for building a strong passphrase are available at .
  2. If checking your personal account, follow Google's instructions for enabling two-factor authentication.  Instructions for setting this up are available
  3. Make sure you are not reusing passwords.  Using unique passwords for each account helps prevent cyber criminals from accessing all aspects of your online world. 
  4. Use a password manager.  This will help you sanely utilize unique passwords for all your accounts.  More information is available at


Get Rid of CryptoLocker for Free

posted Aug 14, 2014, 8:42 AM by Shawn Kohrman

The ransomware variant known as CryptoLocker is a particularly nasty bit of malware that is taking the Internet by storm.  Its use of sound cryptographic practices combined with an ingenious method of extortion to make it an exceptionally potent and dangerous package.

FireEye and Fox-IT have partnered to provide free keys designed to unlock systems infected by CryptoLocker.
The tool is available here:

Thanks go out from the IMT Security Office to FireEye and the Fox-IT teams for their tremendous work in tracking down the keys that make this possible.

Russian Hackers Stole 1.2 Billion Credentials

posted Aug 7, 2014, 1:53 PM by Shawn Kohrman   [ updated Aug 7, 2014, 1:57 PM ]

As noted in the major news outlets recently, the security firm Hold Security LLC recently announced its discovery that a Russian cybercrime gang had amassed a collection of over 1.2 billion username/password combinations.

A number of questions still remain regarding this discovery.

  1. It has yet to be clearly determined if the credentials were bought on the black market or acquired via exploiting (hacking) websites.  Speculation exists that points to a combination of the two.

  2. What specific websites were comprised?  As yet, the specifics on this have not been made public.  More importantly, it is unknown how “fresh” (newly acquired and usable) these credentials are.  

  3. If the credentials are still “fresh” (newly acquired and usable), what will they be used for?  Depending on the source, they can be used to access bank accounts for outright theft, access personal email addresses for sending spam and gaining access to other accounts, or simply spam.

While the size and scope of the database held by this criminal group is impressive, the remaining questions mitigate our overall reaction to the threat.


As general good practices, the IMT Security Office recommends the following:

  1. Change the password on your personal email account to something unique.  Your personal email account can be used as a gateway to all your other accounts.  This happens because your other accounts usually will send “Forgot Password” or “Reset Password” links to your personal email account.  Helpful instructions on creating good passwords are available at

  2. Use a password manager to help you create and manage strong, unique passwords for all your accounts.  It is extremely important to not reuse passwords at multiple sites.  However, this can make password management a chore.  More information on password managers is available at


Heartbleed Bug [UPDATED]

posted Apr 10, 2014, 10:30 AM by Shawn Kohrman   [ updated Apr 10, 2014, 11:51 AM ]

You may have read in the news about a web security flaw known as the ‘Heartbleed’ bug. Heartbleed affects the encryption technology designed to protect online activities such as commercial emailing, banking, and online shopping. It only affects websites that use OpenSSL.
We would like to inform the APU Community that IMT is aware of the Heartbleed bug and has been actively scanning and updating our servers, where appropriate, to address any vulnerabilities.
The good news is that a very small percentage of our servers use OpenSSL and we have determined that GMail and Google Apps are not affected by Heartbleed.
We continue to ensure the University’s data is protected and we will keep the community updated.

How to protect yourself from the "Heartbleed" security bug

Change your online passwords -- all of them

"I would change every password everywhere because it's possible something was sniffed out," said Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer for Qualys, a maker of security-analysis software.

And follow these guidelines for choosing secure passwords. Don't use common words or a string of consecutive numbers. Experts recommend passwords be at least eight characters long, using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using the same user name and password for multiple sites.

Make sure Web services you use have updated their security

Changing your passwords won't do any good, experts explained, until the affected Web services install software to fix the problem. They would then need to alert their users to the potential risks, and let them know when the Heartbleed fix has been installed so they can change their passwords.

Fortunately, "many of the biggest and most important services have already been patched and fixed," Mandiant Security senior consultant William Ballenthin tells CBS News. "I've already received notices from Google and Amazon and Yahoo that they identified the issue last week and they've already fixed it."

CNET advises Web users to check the security of individual sites here, though it warns that caution is still warranted even if the site has an "all clear" indication. If you're given a red flag, avoid the site for now.

Yahoo Inc., which boasts more than 800 million users worldwide, is among the Internet services reportedly compromised by Heartbleed. Yahoo says most of its most popular services -- including sports, finance and Tumblr -- has been fixed, but work was still being done on other products that it didn't identify in a statement Tuesday.

"We're focused on providing the most secure experience possible for our users worldwide and are continuously working to protect our users' data," Yahoo said.

CNET reports that other major Web services, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, did not appear to be compromised -- but as Chartier points out, it's hard to know for sure.

Keep an eye on your credit card statements
Just in case your data was breached, check your financial statements and report any suspicious activity to your credit card company.

Be cautious of smaller Web sites

Despite the worries raised by the Heartbleed bug, Codenomicon said many large consumer sites aren't likely to be affected because of their "conservative choice" of equipment and software. "Ironically, smaller and more progressive services or those who have upgraded to (the) latest and best encryption will be affected most," the security firm said in a blog post.

Although it may take months for smaller sites to install the Heartbleed fix, Chartier predicts all the major Internet services will act quickly to protect their reputations.

In the meantime, Ballenthin says, there's no need to panic. "I think really you just need to be aware that the issue's out there, and when [a Web site] asks you to reset your password, or change some settings, go ahead and do it as soon as you can." 
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Support Desk.

Tool To See if a Website is Safe


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