College e-mail used for scam

A student’s College e-mail account was compromised and used to send out approximately two million Nigerian scam emails in early January, Information Technology (IT) reported to the campus community via e-mail on Jan. 16.

As a result, select commercial e-mail Web sites were blocking all messages sent out by the College.

The Web sites, including msn.com, hotmail.com and att.net (AT&T), informed IT that they would continue to block College e-mails until they did not receive any spam messages for at least 72 hrs.

Shawn Sivy, director of Networking & Technical Services, said the commercial e-mail Web sites currently are no longer blocking College e-mail.

The commercial e-mail Web sites are Microsoft-operated and used by many members of the campus community instead of their original e-mail accounts assigned by the College.

College e-mail accounts can be set to automatically forward messages to these sites. There is a policy that strongly encourages both students and faculty to actively monitor their original e-mail accounts.

The purpose of the policy is to ensure all important information is spread effectively.

However, many students did not see the importance of the message sent out by Information Technology.

Anthony Grullon, freshman computer engineering major, realized how the e-mail blockings would affect some but admitted it was just another message to him.

“Its of very little importance,” Grullon said. The e-mail blockings only affected the users whose primary e-mail accounts are outside commercial Web sites and used as an option to their assigned College accounts. Scammers and hackers, on the other hand, can make anyone a victim.

Matthew Golden, executive director of Public Relations and Communications, said he had not heard of the College having any scamming incidents in the past.

When an e-mail account is “compromised,” unauthorized access is gained to the account.

The perpetrator, he said, is then able to use the account as if it were his or her own, and send out scamming e-mails.

The scams are then traced back to the compromised e-mail account, and the account’s owner is the one who is questioned.

To help avoid falling victim to scammers, it is advised to never open an e-mail with an unfamiliar address, never give out personal information through e-mail and to close and delete all e-mails where the content does not correspond with the address.

An important concept to remember is that e-mail, while an effective and useful form of communication, is not secure.

If anyone in the College community has trouble of any nature with their e-mail accounts, that person is strongly advised to contact IT.

If any suspicious e-mails are received, contact abuse@tcnj.edu.

For more information, go to tcnj.edu/~it.

Briana Gunter can be reached at gunter2@tcnj.edu.