NSU continues to battle phishing emails


Tyrenisha James

Students at NSU are experiencing phishing through their student emails.

Phishing emails are becoming an issue for students at Northwestern State University of Louisiana.

“It makes me unsure of what to open,” Elizabeth Sanders, a sophomore social work major, said.

Antonio Dukes, a senior health and physical education major, said that what emails are sent need to be controlled better.

“Some students can get into it and they can get their information,” said Dukes. “It can end up being bad for them.”

According to the Director of Information Technology Systems, Heath Fitts, there is no way to stop phishing emails.

“It is a constant battle and we can’t stop them all,” Fitts said. “The best defense is to be critical and not get caught.”

Eddie Horton, an associate professor with the department of computer information systems, said it is important to understand phishing.

“We live on electronics,” said Horton. “ Making sure that you know not to give out personal information in email is important.”

Fitts said the most common risk of providing your personal information is identity theft.

“Although malware and viruses are always a risk, what they really want is your personal information and your credentials,” said Fitts.

Fitts said if it’s too good to be true, then it’s not true.

“If someone is offering a work-from-home job or free money, it’s probably a scam,” said Fitts. “If you are asked for personal information such as your address, Social Security Number, or driver’s license number, it’s probably a scam.”

Horton said students need stronger passwords for their school accounts.

“Don’t make it so hard that you have to write it down, ” said Horton. “ You want to make sure your password is something that you can remember.”

Fitts said accounts can become compromised in many ways.

“If you use your NSU email address and the same password at another site, and that site is hacked, then those hackers have access to your NSU email account,” said Fitts. “Always use a unique password at every site.”

Fitts said that students need to pay attention to the links in the emails and know when you are being targeted.

“If the link is to a site like Google Docs, Wix, Weebly or other such free sites where anybody can put a fake page that looks official,” said Fitts. “That is a definite sign of a phishing attempt.”

Horton said that there is no way to properly filter everything in the email system.

“They try very hard here at Northwestern to not block anything legitimate,” said Horton. “Because of that sometimes some of these things do get through the filters.”

Fitts said we have the tools to stop phishing and a plan is in the works.

“Lately these tools have not worked as well for us as they have in the past,” said Fitts. “We are looking at alternatives and should have some more effective tools in place soon.”