Most people are already aware, but something like 90% of the email moving on the internet is unwanted junk mail. A growing and dangerous fraction of that is actually much more dangerous, and comprises fraudulent attempts to gain illegal access to the computers we all use. This is generally called 'phishing' and can take numerous forms, but most commonly comprises an email with an urgent subject line demanding immediate action on the part of the reader. The body of the message includes a link to allow the reader to 'log in' to a server to take that action. Lehigh has a burgeoning 'rogues gallery' of examples, but all of them are essentially 'social engineering': attempts to play on one or another of users' common issues to fool them into either handing over key information like account names, passwords, credit card numbers, etc., or downloading malicious software that does that automatically, or worse.
The best defense against these threats is to be well acquainted with the organizations that you expect to send you email, and maintain a good understanding of how you would be expected to respond. The following items are helpful to keep in mind:
It may seem like another thing that anyone should 'just know', but it's far too easy to quickly send a poorly constructed note. More importantly, with the potential danger presented by the constant onslaught of scams and phishing, the people to whom you're sending that email will be doing a great deal of filtering, and may just miss it. Either way, it's worth taking some time to review a few features that make up a good email:
Library & Technology Services
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Bethlehem, PA 18015
Lehigh University provides a leading-edge library and technology environment that enables flexibility, innovation, and effectiveness in all areas of the academic enterprise, including learning and the student experience, research, administration, community-building and outreach.
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