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Security (ICT security)

Watch out for fake emails: phishing and ransomware

Only open email attachments and hyperlinks if you're certain that the message is from a trustworthy source. Delete spam immediately! Be extra cautious with emails concerning invoices, prizes, subscriptions and fines, as well as those from your bank or a helpdesk.

Watch out for phishing emails and ransomware

  • Phishing is a technique that criminals use to try to get you to disclose personal data or login details over the phone or by email.
  • Ransomware is malicious software spread by email that locks your operating system and/or files after you click on an infected attachment. This software can also spread over the network to infect all shared folders to which you have have editing rights, You will subsequently be instructed to pay a 'ransom' to unlock your files or your computer. Don't ever respond to such a message! Immediately break the network connection, turn off the computer. 

Do´s and don´ts

  • Only open email attachments and hyperlinks if you're certain that the message is from a trustworthy source.
  • Also, don't automatically log in to a system if requested to do so in an email. Emails can be fake and may contain fake texts and logos resembling that of your bank or other companies. Fake emails can often be recognised by the poor quality of the writing and many spelling errors.
  • Verify hyperlinks in e-mails by hovering over them with your cursor, without clicking. Or try phoning the sender.  
  • Only open attachments if you are expecting to receive a document (e.g. an invoice) from that sender and you trust the attachment.
  • Take extra care with .ZIP files. If the name of an unzipped file ends in .pdf.exe, then it is not really a .PDF file and is most likely a virus.
  • Be cautious if you are prompted to activate Microsoft Office macros.

Be extra cautious with emails concerning invoices, subscriptions and fines, as well as those from your bank. The UvA and banks never ask you to change your log-in information via email!

UvA system administrators are not allowed to request personal access codes (password); see the  ICT Code of Conduct .

Recognize phishing mails

Some examples of phishing mails

What could happen if you click on an attachment or a link in a fake email?

•    Your login details could become public or fall into the hands of cyber criminals, providing unauthorised individuals with access to your data or personal details.
•    Your files could be blocked.
•    A virus or other malicious software (malware) could be installed on your computer, enabling cyber criminals to see your computer screen and even control your webcam.