Category Archives: Identity Theft

Take Fordham’s Cyber Security Awareness training.



Do you know the latest solutions for lowering your risk of getting hacked? Find out by taking our free, self-paced online Cyber Security Awareness training. It can be found under “My Organizations” in Blackboard, accessed at

  • Stay informed.
    • Visit our website:
    • We will be sure to keep you in the know with trends and possible breaches.
    • Follow us on social media as well for quick informative updates!
      • Twitter – @FordhamSecureIT
      • Facebook – @FordhamSecureIT

Other reputable news sources also include cyber security resources.

Such as

Just to name a few.

  • Find a source you trust and visit it frequently.

Detailed information regarding Identity Theft scams and other IT security topics are available on our IT Security website at: or from our blog at

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact IT Customer Care at (718) 817-3999 or via email to:


Monitor all your accounts for suspicious activity.

  • Keep an eye on the activity on all of your accounts.
    • Review your bank statement and make sure there haven’t been any purchase or debits you don’t recognize.
    • Check your trash in your email accounts, hackers will delete login notifications, but not all of them think to empty the trash as well.
    • Have amazon or something similar? Check your order history and make sure there isn’t anything there you didn’t order.
    • Social media? Check your DM’s and make sure there aren’t any messages there you haven’t sent.
    • Go into your settings and check that things are still as you set them up.
    • Verify security questions are the same.
    • If there is a recovery email that it is the one you use.
    • If you get spam emails, flag them so your email provider can update their information and to keep your mail box clean.

Detailed information regarding Identity Theft scams and other IT security topics are available on our IT Security website at: or from our blog at

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact IT Customer Care at (718) 817-3999 or via email to:

Be wary of tech support scams, cold calls or web browser popups.

  • Most scams use tech support chats or messages with an 800 number to get your attention.
    • If the hacker is using the chat, they may try to convince you they need your IP address to help you diagnose and remedy your device. Giving up this information would allow the hackers full access to your computer.
    • If you receive a pop up message requesting immediate action, remember your computers security system may ask you to update software or run a scan, it wouldn’t request your login information or that you call to speak to someone.
    • If you aren’t sure if the pop up is legitimate or not call your security provider directly, use a phone number you have for them and not one that may appear in the pop up.


  • If you get an unexpected phone call or text message requesting immediate action, ignore it!
    • Again similar to the pop ups your provider wouldn’t be contacting you unless you initiated contact.
    • Hang up if you get a call requesting immediate action, or requesting you go online and allow the tech to remotely connect to your system.
    • If you receive a text message with a phone number, do not call that number.
    • Again if you want to be sure your device is safe, contact your security provider directly.

If you believe you received a call that is a scam, report it!

Reports about fraudulent calls and pop ups can be made at

For more information and tips on safety visit:

Federal Trade Commission


Important info from this article

“Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication we have with you must be initiated by you.

Do not call the number in a pop-up window on your device. Microsoft’s error and warning messages never include a phone number.

Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.”

–Gregoire, Courtney

Detailed information regarding Identity Theft scams and other IT security topics are available on our IT Security website at: or from our blog at

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact IT Customer Care at (718) 817-3999 or via email to:

Identity Protection Tips


One of the easiest things you can do to protect yourself is create a strong password. We’ve all struggled with meeting the criteria for some passwords (8 characters, one number, ect); however the sites that request these types of passwords are protecting their users by ensuring secure passwords.

  • Passphrases are the in!
    • As technology continues to grow and expand, so do the hackers and their abilities. Simply hashing your password isn’t enough anymore (h@$h1n6 P@55w0rd$) hackers have developed software that will help them crack passwords that use these characters.
    • Instead come up with a passphrase that consist of four or more unrelated words.
      • For example: PumpkinKartMineLoft. Simple words that the user can remember, but would be incredibly hard for a program to crack. 
  • If you’re worried you won’t be able to remember a phrase, then try hashing your password in different ways.
  • Try to avoid the common uses for special characters, instead try to use a varied combination of numeric and alphabetic characters.
    • If your password is elevator, try entering it as E13va70R

So what we did was capitalize the E then use the numbers 1 and 3 for the l and the next e we kept the v and capitalized the a then changed the t for a 7 the o for a zero and capitalized the r. This is just an example, play around with combinations that you are comfortable with and can remember.  Mixing up the alpha and numeric characters, along with capitalization can help keep your accounts safe.

  • Use two factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Some sites offer this additional protection which will require you enter and additional piece of information or have access to another piece of equipment.

For more insight and stats visit

Detailed information regarding Identity Theft scams and other IT security topics are available on our IT Security website at: or from our blog at

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact IT Customer Care at (718) 817-3999 or via email to:


Guard Yourself Against Identity Theft

Protecting your identity while online is one of the biggest steps you can take to prevent yourself from being a target of a cyber-attack or identity theft.  While many of us may think it won’t happen to me, or why would anyone want to steal my identity? Hackers are equal opportunity and will search for vulnerable users to exploit. Here are a few simple tips to lower your risks.

  • Don’t over share.
    • Things such as your date of birth, children’s, or pet’s names can be used to try to determine your password.
    • Vary your user names, while it may be hard to remember them all for different sites it will ensure if one account is compromised they won’t all be.
    • Try to avoid user names that give up too much information as well. Avoid using your email handle as your user name, while it may help you keep track, again if the account is compromised now your email address may be compromised as well.
    • Consider having two separate email addresses. One you use strictly for banking and other financial needs, the other for social media and shopping.
      • This could help identify a phishing email, if say you get a message about your bank or credit card account, and it’s linked to a different email address.
  • Be selective with who you add on your social media sites.
    • If you aren’t personally familiar with the person sending the request you may wish to ignore or deny that request.
      • Many hackers/scammers use social media to try to either scam users into sending them money or to hack their account to get the users contact info, as well as the contact for their friends.
  • Use different passwords for each site.
    • Having different user name and password combinations will help keep your accounts protected.
      • This would be especially helpful for your online banking accounts or credit card accounts.

Detailed information regarding Identity Theft scams and other IT security topics are available on our IT Security website at: or from our blog at

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact IT Customer Care at (718) 817-3999 or via email to:

Yahoo says all three billion accounts hacked in 2013 data theft

(Reuters) – Yahoo on Tuesday said that all 3 billion of its accounts were hacked in a 2013 data theft, tripling its earlier estimate of the size of the largest breach in history, in a disclosure that attorneys said sharply increased the legal exposure of its new owner, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N).

The news expands the likely number and claims of class action lawsuits by shareholders and Yahoo account holders, they said. Yahoo, the early face of the internet for many in the world, already faced at least 41 consumer class-action lawsuits in U.S. federal and state courts, according to company securities filing in May.

John Yanchunis, a lawyer representing some of the affected Yahoo users, said a federal judge who allowed the case to go forward still had asked for more information to justify his clients’ claims.

“I think we have those facts now,” he said. “It’s really mind-numbing when you think about it.”

Yahoo said last December that data from more than 1 billion accounts was compromised in 2013, the largest of a series of thefts that forced Yahoo to cut the price of its assets in a sale to Verizon.

Yahoo on Tuesday said “recently obtained new intelligence” showed all user accounts had been affected. The company said the investigation indicated that the stolen information did not include passwords in clear text, payment card data, or bank account information.

But the information was protected with outdated, easy-to-crack encryption, according to academic experts. It also included security questions and backup email addresses, which could make it easier to break into other accounts held by the users.

Many Yahoo users have multiple accounts, so far fewer than 3 billion were affected, but the theft ranks as the largest to date, and a costly one for the internet pioneer.

Verizon in February lowered its original offer by $350 million for Yahoo assets in the wake of two massive cyber attacks at the internet company.

Some lawyers asked whether Verizon would look for a new opportunity to address the price.

“This is a bombshell,” said Mark Molumphy, lead counsel in a shareholder derivative lawsuit against Yahoo’s former leaders over disclosures about the hacks.

Verizon did not respond to a request for comment about any possible lawsuit over the deal.

Verizon, the likely main target of legal actions, also could be challenged as it launches a new brand, Oath, to link its Yahoo, AOL and Huffington Post internet properties.

In August in the separate lawsuit brought by Yahoo’s users, U.S. Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, ruled Yahoo must face nationwide litigation brought on behalf of owners accounts who said their personal information was compromised in the three breaches. Yanchunis, the lawyer for the users, said his team planned to use the new information later this month to expanding its allegations.

Also on Tuesday, Senator John Thune, chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, said he plans to hold a hearing later this month over massive data breaches at Equifax Inc (EFX.N) and Yahoo. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission already had been probing Yahoo over the hacks.

The closing of the Verizon deal, which was first announced in July, had been delayed as the companies assessed the fallout from two data breaches that Yahoo disclosed last year. The company paid $4.48 billion for Yahoo’s core business.

A Yahoo official emphasized Tuesday that the 3 billion figure included many accounts that were opened but that were never, or only briefly, used.

The company said it was sending email notifications to additional affected user accounts.

The new revelation follows months of scrutiny by Yahoo, Verizon, cybersecurity firms and law enforcement that failed to identify the full scope of the 2013 hack.

The investigation underscores how difficult it was for companies to get ahead of hackers, even when they know their networks had been compromised, said David Kennedy, chief executive of cybersecurity firm TrustedSEC LLC.

Companies often do not have systems in place to gather up and store all the network activity that investigators could use to follow the hackers’ tracks.

“This is a real wake up call,” Kennedy said. “In most guesses, it is just guessing what they had access to.”


Equifax Breach: Find out if you’re affected

via: Shannon Ortiz, Director of IT Security at Fordham University

Dear Colleagues and Students,

As you may have heard in the news, Equifax, a credit reporting agency widely used by major credit card companies, banks, retailers, and lenders (including lenders of student loans), has suffered a serious data breach affecting over 143 million people. Cybercriminals have stolen names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and the numbers of some driver’s licenses.

Educate yourself about the breach: Equifax has set up a website,, with more information about the breach. Included is a page for checking whether your personally identifiable information (PII) was part of the breach.

If your PII was breached, Equifax gives you the option to enroll in their credit monitoring service, TrustedID Premier. Note that during the enrollment process, Equifax requires you to sign a consent form in which you agree to not take any legal action against Equifax related to the breach.

Good online hygiene: Fordham IT will NEVER ask for your username and password, or ask you to click any links to validate or verify your account or password. If you receive questionable or suspicious emails, contact IT Customer Care and allow the UISO to validate the legitimacy of these emails.

Educate yourself some more: Take the UISO’s online, self-paced course, “UISO Security Training.” The course can be accessed in Blackboard, under My Organizations. Login to Blackboard via or directly from Fordham’s Blackboard portal.

If you need more information, please reach out to the University Information Security Office:

Article: Random text? Wait, wait, don’t click that!

“Here’s a tip that’s worth repeating:

Don’t click on a link in a text message you get on your phone that says you’ve won a terrific prize or a gift card, or that asks you to click on a link. Don’t reply either. It’s probably a scam.

The Federal Trade Commission settled charges with a group of marketers that were part of a scheme that sent millions of unsolicited spam text messages promoting supposedly free merchandise like $1,000 gift cards for Wal-Mart and Best Buy.

People who clicked the links in the messages didn’t get the promised prizes. Instead, they were taken to websites that asked them to give personal information and sign up for multiple offers, often involving purchases or paid subscriptions.

What can you do about unwanted text messages?

  • Delete unwanted text messages that ask you to enter a special code, or to confirm or provide personal information. Legitimate companies won’t send you a text asking for sensitive information.
  • Don’t click on links in the text message. Links can take you to spoof sites that look real but will steal your personal information.
  • Report spam texts to your carrier. Copy the original message and forward it to 7726 (SPAM) free of charge, if you are an AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint subscriber.”

Though scams involving free gift cards and merchandise are common there are also other types of scams prevalent via text messages. Below is an example of  a scam text message.



Tip #3 | Don’t Share THAT about Yourself Online!

Shakespeare Listens

Image: Kelli Marshall, Locating Shakespeare in the 21st Century, Vimeo

Inappropriate sharing of secrets always makes for a good plot twist in a Shakespearean play:

O negligence!
Fit for a fool to fall by: what cross devil
Made me put this main secret in the packet
I sent the king? Is there no way to cure this?
No new device to beat this from his brains?
(Henry VIII, Act 3.2)

When you meet someone new, whether it’s in your residence hall, at a party, or at work, do you immediately tell that person your full name, social security number, phone number, address, credit card and bank account numbers? Didn’t think so. You wouldn’t share most of that information with a good friend, either.

But what if you were asked, politely, a few times for the information? And what if the request came with a promise not to share any of your personal information, including your funny middle name, with anyone else? Right. Didn’t think so.

You should feel the same way about your privacy when a social media site asks you for that information. If you need to share those personal details to join the site, that’s a red flag. Walk (or surf) away from it, fast.

When you share something that’s personally identifiable with the wrong person or website, it will be quite difficult to find a “cure” and “beat” it out of his or her “brains” or database!

Read more about Cyber Security Awareness Month!