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Malicious email shuts down estimated 1,000 Chico State student portals in past month

Screen+captured+from+the+Chico+State+portal+website
Screen captured from the Chico State portal website

Screen captured from the Chico State portal website

Screen captured from the Chico State portal website

George Johnston

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An estimated 1,000 Chico State portals have been shut down because of a phishing email.

According to Chico State IT Support Service staff, an email was sent sometime last month with a malicious link to Chico State faculty, staff, and students. Any person who opened the email had their email shut down by Google and their accounts shut down by Chico State.

“Anybody who clicked on that link registered as strange activity and Google shut what it thought was a compromise account” an employee at ITSS said.

With their accounts deactivated, Chico State faculty, staff, and students are unable to access their blackboard, student Center, and other Chico State systems until ITSS restores the account and changes the account password.

“Our support teams are in touch with yours and working thru this. Hopefully all will be clear and resolved soon,”  Aaron Stein, a representative at Google said. 

Numbers have varied, but over 277 accounts were shut down this week and 250 last week.

Over the weekend according to ITSS employees 300 more accounts were shut down. 

George Johnston can be reached at [email protected] or @gjohnston786 on Twitter.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Malicious email shuts down estimated 1,000 Chico State student portals in past month”

  1. IT Support Services on February 20th, 2016 12:19 pm

    A couple clarifications on this article:

    The emails that have been sent to faculty, staff, and students are known as “phishing emails.” Phishing emails generally say that there’s something wrong with your account, like your email is out of space or your account details need to be validated. They also usually have some urgency to them (“if you don’t reply in 24 hours your account will be disabled”). They then provide a link for you to resolve the problem. Unfortunately, that link asks for your login or other personal information and is *not* an official Chico State website. Once you enter your information, the criminals that sent the email have your login information and now they use your email account to send more phishing emails and even to try to get into your financial accounts.

    Google shuts down email accounts that are found to be sending spam/phishing emails. Chico State shuts down accounts that have unusual login activity (like logins from Nigeria or Ghana, which is where most of the current attacks have been coming from). Having your account disabled will prevent access to Gmail, Portal, Blackboard, Student Center, and many other Chico State systems. You’ll need to contact IT Support Services to get your account restored and your password changed.

    The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to be suspicious of emails that ask you to log in. If you have any doubts, delete the email or contact IT Support Services (www.csuchico.edu/itss) to verify the email.

    For more information about phishing scams, go to http://www.csuchico.edu/isec/basics/spam-and-phishing.shtml

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Malicious email shuts down estimated 1,000 Chico State student portals in past month