Phishing scam hacks Binghamton University email accounts

B-Mail account data compromised by messages from unknown source

A number of B-Mail users have received fraudulent emails that claim their mailboxes have reached full capacity and ask for personal information to resolve the issue.

The cyber threat has since been diminished by Information Technology Services (ITS) on campus. However, they said that this was not the first time a scam has occurred. Phishing scams have happened several times this semester, according to ITS.

“Phishing is an attempt to gain information under false pretenses,” said Logan Robinson, who works at ITS. “This takes the form and the template of a credible institution, so they’ll try to act like your bank, they’ll try to act like your credit card company, they will try to act like a donation website of some sort.”

At least three B-Mail accounts have been compromised, resulting in more than 1,000 emails being sent to Binghamton University email addresses, according to Robinson. The user logging into the compromised accounts is located outside of the United States.

“When I saw it in my inbox I was skeptical but I still looked at the email, mainly because it was from a Binghamton.edu address. Then it asked me to fill out a form with some personal information and I realized it was a hacked account,” said Graham Mentis, a junior majoring in biology.

ITS implemented safety measures after receiving concerns from students in regards to the email. The phishing link on the fraud email was blocked to users on campus, and ITS changed the passwords on the corrupted accounts and logged them off any active sessions. ITS is continuing to monitor the situation and the domain.

Increasing awareness of cyber safety has been an agenda on campus. ITS has used several methods to raise awareness of the issue and educate students. These include cautionary screen savers in the Pods, posters in the library and in dorms and announcements on B-Line and Dateline.

“It’s difficult to educate on this topic because you never know the form that the phishing attempt may take and some can look pretty legitimate,” Robinson wrote in an email.

Investigator Patrick Reilly of Binghamton’s New York State University Police said these emails are commonplace, and can be particularly rampant early in the fall semester. He advised going online to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s homepage to get educated on scams, and also to report all incidents.

According to Robinson, students need to have sound online habits to ensure their web security.

“I know here at Binghamton we have a lot of different log-in passwords, it is good practice to refresh those every now and then,” Robinson said. “There are some people with the practice of changing it every day, just being very proactive on it.”