New anti-phishing tool deploys Feb. 19

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New anti-phishing tool deploys Feb. 19

Starting Feb. 19, a new layer of security will be added to campus email accounts.
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Starting Feb. 19, a new layer of security will be added to campus email accounts.

In its ever-expanding battle against spam, viruses and malware, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is adding a new line of defense on the email front.

Starting Feb. 19, Information Technology Services will integrate Proofpoint's Targeted Attack Protection to all university email. The extra security level is designed to prevent malicious attachments and fraudulent links from reaching campus inboxes.

Proofpoint, a security gateway that quarantines potential phishing email and malicious attachment, is already in place at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, providing daily updates on blocked messages. The expanded Proofpoint Targeted Attack Protection system rewrites and inspects all links, ensuring that recipients can safely click through to the intended website.

When a user clicks on a rewritten link, the expanded protection system will open either the original website or a university page that prevents access to what has determined to be a compromised phishing attempt.

According to the most recent figures provided by Information Technology Services, users at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln receive about 300,000 email messages each day. Of that total, nearly 230,000 have been determined to be spam or contain viruses/malware.

"Higher education is under attack daily and compromising an email account is the first step," said Matt Morton, chief information security officer for the University of Nebraska system. "The goal of these attacks is not just to retrieve personal information. Criminals also want to know who you know."

Compromised accounts at high-profile institutions are bought and sold by criminals who hope to gain access to research data and payroll funds.

According to figures provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, cybercrime has increased 1,300 percent since January 2015. In that time, more than $3 billion has been lost to phishing, malware attacks and other online scams.

Both Proofpoint and its targeted attack protection system will be added to all University of Nebraska email systems in February.

Information about Nebraska's email security system is available online. Questions regarding email security should be directed via email to securityopcenter@unl.edu.