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Information Security

Sextortionware/Extortionware/Doxware (07/12/18)

We are receiving information from our higher education information security intelligence sources that there is a blackmail/phishing scam hitting multiple higher edu institutions around the country including the UC. We have not been advised of any attempts against CSU campuses so far.

This particular attempt is a form of what is known as “Sextortion.” The scam, in most cases, displays a password that may appear to be or actually be a user’s password that the sender claims to have been obtained from an adult content website. The passwords were actually harvested from breaches of companies in the past, some as long as a decade ago and hackers have posted the credentials on the DarkWeb or sites like PasteBin.  These are sites used by hackers to trade, sell and display credentials they have compromised.

The current scam purports to have obtained the user's password from an adult (porn) site and threatens to reveal the users online behavior to others unless a ransom is paid in Bitcoin (internet currency).

The FBI advises:

  • Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are — or who they say they are.
  • Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know, and in general be wary of opening attachments even from those you do know unless they are expected.
  • Turn off [and/or cover] any web cameras when you are not using them.

Please report the receipt of any of these messages or similar phishing attempts to the Support Center:

The CSU’s Responsible Use policy can be found in ICSUAM 8105 located online at

May Patch Tuesday (5/8/2018)

Microsoft and Adobe have released their monthly patches. Information Technology will release the patches to the campus on Friday, May 11th. Please make sure your computer is rebooted as soon as the patches are automatically applied. You should also update any home computers that run Windows. The most malicious of the bugs is CVE-2018-8174  which can be triggered by visiting a malicious website while logged in with your administrative rights user ID. The malicious website exploits the bug and your administrative rights access and runs control code on your machine which can take over your machine. Beware of fat fingering well known websites as those can be malicious. A hacker can also embed an ActiveX control marked “safe for initialization” in an application or Microsoft Office document. These type of browser based bugs are dangerous because of the ease of attack.

Change Your Twitter Password (5/3/2018)

Twitter is telling its users to consider changing their passwords. The company discovered that it was logging user passwords in clear text and blogged about in a post by Twitter's CTO. CSUN recommends that you change your Twitter password. If you used your CSUN userid and password for your twitter account please also change your CSUN password.

March Patch Tuesday (3/13/2018)

As some of you might know, Microsoft releases its patches on the second Tuesday of the month and this has become known as Patch Tuesday. There are some serious issues fixed with the March patches mostly around browsers. Adobe has also released Flash patches that fix serious issues. IT will be pushing out the patches this Friday to CSUN computers. You should also update your home computer as soon as possible. The SANS (SysAdmin,Audit,Network,Security) Institute has a very good summary of what it is in the patches.

GitHub Hit by Largest Ever DDoS Attack (3/1/2018)

GitHub was hit yesterday by the largest DDoS attack ever recorded. The DDoS attack generated a flood of traffic that peaked at 1.35 Terabits per second. The cause of the attack was not a botnet attack but rather a memcache server attack. Experts do not expect the record to last very long as hackers find more ways to attack business and universities.

Post Office Mail Scam (2/26/2018)

The USPS has a service that allows you to see a preview of your snail mail on-line. Unfortunately when the USPS rolled this out their identity verification was lax and there was no notification sent to the mail owner that someone signed up. Therefore, it was easy for scammers to sign up to get a preview of your mail and know when credit cards, bank statements or checks were delivered. The USPS has implemented a new notification system to alert you when someone signs up. It is suggested that you sign up for this notification process.

Chase Bank Mobile Glitch Exposes Customer Data (2/25/2018)

JP Morgan Chase & Co. suffered a glitch that gave some customers logging in to on line  systems access to other clients’ accounts instead of their own. This software glitch occurred last week. if you logged into your account on line or via the mobile app it is suggested that you monitor your account closely. 

W-2 Scam Alert (2/22/18)

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has issued an alert on the increase in W-2-related phishing campaigns. Hackers often use tax-related phishing to get individuals to give up personally identifiable data (PII), click on a malicious link, open a malware infested attachment or pay a ransom. Note that the IRS does not initiate contact via email. if it looks suspicious or you are asked to give up PII it is more than likely a phishing email.

Patch Tuesday (2/14/2018)

As some of you might know, Microsoft releases its patches on the second Tuesday of the month and this has become known as Patch Tuesday. There are some serious issues fixed with the February release that have known exploits, including a nasty Outlook bug that could take over your computer if you open up an infected file. Please take this patch as soon as possible. IT will be pushing out the patches this Friday to CSUN computers. You should also update your home computer as soon as possible The SANS (SysAdmin,Audit,Network,Security) Institute has a very good summary of what it is in every patch. 

Chrome Browser Scam/Ransomware (2/8/2018)

Security researchers are reporting that hackers are exploiting a bug in Chrome to try to extort money from unsuspecting users. The way it works is that upon navigating to a hacked or invalid web site, your browser may display a message telling you to call a number and then lock up the browser and eventually your Windows machine. If you do encounter this issue on Windows you may use Task Manager to kill the Chrome browser or you can reboot your machine. On MacOS your Mac will eventually tell you that your browser is unresponsive. Under no circumstances should you call the number popping up on your machine. Chrome has not yet issued a patch.

Another Flash Exploit (2/1/2018)

Adobe issued a security warning that attackers are exploiting a new security hole in its Flash Player software to hack into Microsoft Windows computers. Adobe said it will issue a fix in the next few days. Adobe is recommending that users turn on protected view in Windows to mitigate this issue. We recommend that all users turn on protected view on their computers.

File Taxes Early to Prevent Fraud (1/29/18)

Today January 29th is the first day you can file your 2017 tax return. A favorite tactic of scammers and hackers is to file a false tax return using your stolen identity and receive a large tax return. Tax return fraud impacts hundreds of thousands of US taxpayers annually and is expected to climb this year due to the Equifax breach. One way to prevent this fraud is to not wait until April 15th but file as early as possible.

If you were a victim of the Equifax breach you should should consider submitting an Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) to the IRS. Also be aware that if you froze your credit due to the Equifax breach and you are required by the IRS to use a PIN to file electronically you have some extra steps to perform. 

Malware Bytes Update Causes Major Problems (1/29/18)

Malwarebytes released a production update on Saturday that can cause spikes in CPU use, resulting in slow performing or crashed computers. If you are using Malwarebytes please see the Malwarebytes Forum for remediation steps. 

Major Flaw in Hardware Leaves Computers, iPads and iPhones Vulnerable (1/08/18) 

Two major flaws in computer chips have left a huge number of computers, iPads and smartphones vulnerable to hackers. These flaws have been titled Spectre and Meltdown. The flaws are specific to Intel chips. 

The flaws could potentially allow an attacker to read confidential data stored in computer or mobile device memory such as passwords, or sensitive data. Although the flaws are hardware based the fixes to make your device secure are software based.

The fixes are listed below. Please apply as soon as possible to devices in your department. We will pushing out many of these via SCCM and Jamf.


Red Hat

For Macs and iOS devices please make sure you have taken the latest patches

Google Devices and Chrome



Need Help with Information Security?

Contact the Office of Information Security at (818) 677-6100. To report incidents of abuse, send an email to or: