SJU gets tough on “phishy” emails

Early last week, “fraudulent e-mails” were sent out to St. John’s students impersonating the University that requested validation of account and personal information, according to St. John’s University officials. Students were warned through personal announcements about the e-mail scam and were urged to delete those e-mails.

Roger So, director of System Operations and Architecture for the IT department, said that these fake e-mails have always been a problem. However, So said, “We’re seeing more of [them] now than ever before.”

“We are giving this issue a lot of attention to reduce the amount of phishing received,” So said. “And we are continuing to work on trying to stop these e-mails from getting through as early as we can.”

Student Imran Ahmed, a pharmacy major, said that he isn’t surprised about this incident because “you do need to be especially tech savvy to pull something like this off.”

He added, “Phishing is a scam as old as the internet; you pretend you’re a legitimate individual… and ask for personal information, which you can then use for theft or other crimes.”

So said that mass e-mails were sent out to the St. John’s community to warn them about the scam “as a way of informing people that these e-mails should be ignored.”

Senior Bradley Skerritt said he received one of the fraudulent e-mails but did not respond to it after receiving the warning e-mail from St. John’s.

“It should never happen,” Skerritt said. “There’s someone who should have been monitoring the e-mails the same way an employer should monitor their employee.”

So said, “[The] University uses technology to filter e-mail as a way to identify e-mails and we are working with McAfee to improve recognition on what e-mails get through and what doesn’t.”

Hasan Hoque, a biology major, said that St. John’s needs to add more security to the St. John’s Central e-mail system and keep students’ e-mail addresses more secure.

“I think that these individuals who are sending out these e-mails are taking advantage of the students and the fact that since the e-mail says it is from the University, we won’t think twice about it because we are always receiving e-mails from the school.”