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Information Security at the University of Hawai‘i

Spear Phishing campaign: "Are you available?" emails using UH Officials' names

Members of the UH community are being targeted with spear phishing emails sent by accounts with similar usernames to those used in the community, but are using free services to register the account (gmail.com, my.com, etc.). The names used could be of the President, Chancellor, department chairs, or any other UH official.

These emails usually have "Are you available?" as the subject line and include body text explaining they can't call and need you to reply right away. These emails usually also ask you to purchase gift cards and send it to them or another address.

If you receive these types of emails, do not reply. Please verify the legitimacy of the sender's email (ending with @hawaii.edu). UH officials will never ask you to send them gift cards.

If you would like to report phishing emails, please refer to https://www.hawaii.edu/askus/898.


Data Privacy in an Era of Compliance

The Internet is full of data about you. Whenever you play a game, shop, browse websites, or use any of numerous apps, your activity and some of your personal information may be collected and shared.

Similarly, the business of higher education requires us to collect, process, and store the digital information of others. Whenever we handle such information, we need to think about how we want our own information treated and treat other people's data with the same care and respect.

Protect yourself by following these tips:

  • Know what you are sharing. Check the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts; some even include a wizard to walk you through the settings. Always be cautious about what you post publicly.
  • Guard your date of birth and telephone number. These are key pieces of information used for identity and account verification, and you should not share them publicly. If an online service or site asks you to share this critical information, consider whether it is important enough to warrant it.
  • Keep your work and personal presences separate. Your employer has the right to access your email account, so you should use an outside service for private emails. This also helps you ensure uninterrupted access to your private email and other services if you switch employers.

Protect the information, identity, and privacy of others by following these tips:

  • Know what resources are available at your institution. Colleges and universities might employ individuals with some of the following titles and responsibilities: compliance officer, who can help you navigate the laws and regulations that govern how your institution handles constituents' personal data and what safeguards need to be implemented to ensure the data stay secure; data privacy officer, who can answer questions about how your institution protects the privacy of both your data and constituents' data; and a(n) (chief) information security officer, who can answer questions about information security best practices and the technologies available to protect online identity and the personal data of constituents.
  • Know what policies are in place at your institution. A privacy policy governs how the institution collects, processes, stores, and deletes the personal data of constituents; a data classification policy governs how the institution organizes the data it interacts with and what rules are in place for processing it; and an information security policy articulates how the institution governs and prioritizes information security activities.
  • Keep constituents' personal information confidential and limit access to the data.
  • Only use data for its intended purpose. If you need to use data for another reason, always check relevant resources and policies first for guidance.
  • Destroy or de-identify private information when you no longer need it.

US-CERT Vulnerability Alerts

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) provides the latest updates about current threats and vulnerabilities. You can subscribe to their feed to get the latest updates about ongoing vulnerabilities and other cyber threats.

Visit https://www.us-cert.gov/ to learn more.


Don't Fall for Phishing:
Stop. Examine. Ask. Report.
S.E.A.R. the Phish

SEAR the Phish Logo

SEAR the Phish