Tag Archives: online safety

Tip #22 Cyberbullying: How to Get Help

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.14.40 PM


Cyberbullying doesn’t end at high school graduation. It can continue in college, too. You’d think that people who bully would grow out of this behavior, but college is a high-stress place. Tiffs between ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends can spiral out of control. Rifts among roommates or between athletic teams and individual players at other schools can escalate to the virtual world.

One common arena for cyberbullying is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other services provide easy opportunities for students to spread negativity and put personal vengeances into action. Cyberbullying can also happen via email, text messages, and embarrassing images and videos posted online.

Negative emotions and fear grow and take on a life of their own through manifestation on the Internet, as seen most tragically with the cyberbullying situation that involved Rutgers student Tyler Clementi in fall 2010. Mental and emotional-based cyberbullying acts may set the stage for other acts of aggression, such as physical bullying or even school shootings.

If you are a witness of cyberbullying, speak out for the victim and try to put an end to it. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, or if you are the victim and don’t feel safe speaking up, contact a trusted authority, such as a parent or school official, who can help put an end to the bullying. For more signs and prevention of cyberbullying, see this government website on cyberbullying.

At Fordham University, we maintain an office that specifically handles complaints about discrimination, which may involve acts of cyberbullying. Other supports include the University’s Integrity Hotline. Fill out a report about cyberbullying, and it will be directed to the appropriate office–be it the University Information Security Office, the Office of Public Safety, or somewhere else–for addressing your situation.

Finally, if you have engaged in cyberbullying, it can be helpful to talk to a counselor or trusted adult to help you sort out the reasons behind this behavior. Fordham has resources for that, too.

By Nicole Kagan, Fordham IT News Editor.

Tip #20 Public WiFi: Use Sparingly and Safely

Miami Beach

Image: Vintage postcard.

It sounds like a great plan: Finish your history paper on the plane and email your paper from Miami Beach. As soon as you click “send,” you can slap on the suntan oil and vacation will begin!

You’re expecting to the pay the hotel for the privilege of using their WiFi connection. But as you’re about to connect to the hotel network, you notice a network called Free WiFi.

Don’t join that network! Even if you have to pay, it’s much safer to use the hotel’s network with your computer’s settings adjusted for using a public network.

Hooking up to a free network or hot spot, supported by an unknown source, may cause you to become a victim of a common WiFi scam. Hackers make available an Internet connection that looks legitimate. In reality, you’re connecting to their computer and they’re watching every move you make. All your traffic goes through their computer, allowing them to gather personal information like emails, usernames, passwords, and credit card numbers. They can even lodge a virus in your computer. And you won’t know a thing about it, until it’s too late.

The history paper might have been sent for free, but ultimately it will cost much more than the hotel’s WiFi connection.

When you’re tempted to join a free WiFi connection, think twice! Limit your risk when you connect to ANY public network, free or paid, by following these security tips:

  • First and foremost, do not connect to unfamiliar networks.
  • Never join a network identified as computer-to-computer.
  • Verify that your computer is not set up to automatically connect to networks.
  • Turn off file sharing while traveling.
  • Use antivirus software and keep it updated. Fordham has free antivirus protection for students, faculty and staff.
  • Install security patches.
  • Use a firewall.
  • Use your browser’s security settings.
  • Avoid opening email attachments.
  • Treat Instant Messaging suspiciously.

Fordham University’s own network is secure because it requires you to log in with your AccessIT ID and password.

By Nicole Kagan, Fordham IT News Editor

Tip #19 Deal of the Century! (Too bad it’s a scam!)

Image: Wallace Brown Greeting Cards, Boys' Life, Sept. 1953, p. 5. (Get rich quick scams are much older than the Internet.)

Image: Wallace Brown Greeting Cards, Boys’ Life, Sept. 1953, p. 5. (Get rich quick scams are much older than the Internet.)

Scroll through some of the previous posts on the Fordham IT Security News blog, and you’ll find all sorts of scams. No doubt you’ve received a few yourself. 

Be on the alert. If it’s too good to be true, especially if you have to give away information about yourself or pay money, it’s probably a scam. 

Job Scams Cyber criminals post their advertisements on legitimate job sites and often use familiar-looking or convincing company logos, language, and links to fake websites that appear to be those of real organizations.

These sites might charge fees for services that real companies would never render. After you submit your resume and personal information, they might ask you for a $50-$100 fee. Normally, after a few days the thieves close the scam and disappear.

Donation Scams Natural disasters, political campaigns, and global health issues are often the emphasis of donation phishing scams. For instance, recently, cyber criminals have used earthquakes and tsunamis to create illegal “charity” businesses to help the survivors of these events.

Many of these scams begin with an email or a post in an online forum asking for donations in the name of well-known, legitimate charities. When you click a given link, you are taken to a phony website devised to trick you into providing your personal financial information.

Fake E-cards E-cards are made the same way that websites are: they’re built on the Internet, just like this web page. So when you send someone an e-card, you send them a link to click, which takes them to the online greeting card you created for them.

This means an e-card you receive could actually be a phishing scam spam or a spyware installer, or a computer virus.

Read Microsoft’s helpful pages about more best practices on how to avoid these kinds of scams.

By Nicole Kagan, Fordham IT News Editor

Tip #14 First It Was Phishing, Now It’s Smishing

Example of a phishing text and how the consumer handled it using Twitter.

Example of a phishing text and how the consumer handled it using Twitter.

On another (very important) note, another phishing technique lures consumers by using text messages containing URLs and phone numbers. Such a message  usually asks for one’s immediate attention, and requires one to respond or click on the URL.

Oftentimes, the message will come from a “5000” number instead of an actual phone number. This indicates the text message was sent via email to one’s cell phone, rather than from another cell phone.

So don’t turn into another stolen cell phone statistic. Or a consumer who’s been tricked. Regardless of what you’re doing, make sure your cell phone is secure and keep an eye out for odd, seemingly “phishy” text messages.

If you think you’ve received a phishing message, contact IT Customer Care immediately: 718-817-3999 or HelpIT@fordham.edu.

Read more about cell phone safety in Tip #11.


Tip #5 What’s that person doing in my computer?

Fordham IT staff take "Innovation Walks" to disconnect from the online world and get some exercise.

Fordham IT staff take “Innovation Walks” to disconnect from the online world and get some exercise. Disconnecting your computer from the network and disconnecting from your computer can have positive benefits.

It’s one thing to lend your smartphone to a friend to make a quick call, or share a computer with your family at home. It’s an entirely different matter when a stranger gains remote access to one of your devices.

You can prevent that from happening by disconnecting your computer from the Internet when you’re not using it.

Staying connected online all the time is easy and convenient. But a 24-hour connection increases your chances of an attacker or virus scanning the network for an available computer. When you’re not using it, turn off your computer or modem, or disable the WiFi connection. Make sure you have your firewall enabled.

Speaking of firewalls, at Fordham, you can’t even log onto our secured network unless you have firewall installed. This precaution helps keep the networked and wireless connections on all of Fordham’s campuses secure. That’s why we ask you to authenticate (called Network Access Control, or the NAC), each month. We strive to keep our campus’s online environment space safe for you, 24/7.

Moreover, it’s good to get in the habit of disconnecting. Fordham IT staff often take walking meetings together. Our productivity and enthusiasm improves when we take breaks from our computers and the online world.

Tip #2 | Sharing Online with Friends, Cautiously

Ernie and Bert. 1969. IMDB Photo Gallery

Ernie and Bert. 1969.
IMDB Photo Gallery

by Merien Park, IT Communications Intern

Sharing with friends is part of what makes friendships work and why they are wonderful. But be careful when sharing online with friends, as well as relatives, acquaintances, and of course strangers!

When a friend or someone else you know sends you a file to download or a link to click on, be absolutely sure that person sent it. If the download or link doesn’t seem like something this person would send (would your friend send you a link for free tickets to a Yankees – Red Sox game if you’re known as a rabid Mets fan?). Check with the source before you click or download something. If you do follow through with the link or download and it seems suspicious, get of there fast. Contact IT Customer Care (718-817-3999 or HelpIT@fordham.edu) for help in identifying whether the link or download was malicious.

Needless to say, don’t open any files or click on something from people you don’t know or people you don’t know well. Also, an email can claim to come from someone you know, but that person’s email account might have been hacked. If the invitation to click or download looks suspicious, check with your source!

Fordham IT’s UISO also has a lot of information about online safe on their web pages.

Stay safe!

Tip #1 | Spam: Report and Delete!

Fordham Spam graphic2

Did you know that if you click “unsubscribe” on some messages in your inbox, you might unwittingly share your email address with another email list? You’ll end up getting more spam, instead of less. The best way to deal with those messages is to send them to your spam folder and then delete them.

Most email clients, including Fordham Gmail, offer you the option to report as spam the unwanted emails sent to your inbox. When you report a message as spam or junk, you’re training your email filter to send similar unwanted emails to the spam folder the next time. Do check your spam folder at least once a month to make sure legitimate emails haven’t slipped in there. Here’s how to report spam in your Gmail.

At Fordham University, students benefit from Google’s spam filtering. Read more about creating filters for Gmail.

In addition to Google’s spam filter, Fordham faculty and staff receive protection from Proofpoint. This email security solution filters spam and traps email that contain malware or is from senders “phishing” for personal information. More information about Proofpoint, including how-to videos for creating filters, is located on the Fordham IT web page, Spam Management and Email Filters.

Stay tuned for more tips throughout October, which is Cyber Security Month.