Editorial: Universities must educate about phishing scams

When living in a world with sophisticated technology and intricate software, online scams have become more sophisticated and difficult to recognize. It can be hard  to discern if the email or phone call from your bank or the Canadian Revenue Agency are real or fake. However, it is also important to educate people on how to detect when they are being scammed. Recently, MacEwan University in Edmonton fell victim to a phishing scam amounting to $11.8 million. While universities are filled with smart and educated people, phishing and scamming have proven to become highly calculated and designed to slip the minds of smart individuals like students and university employees. It  is important to raise awareness about the frequency of scams […]

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Alberta places pay caps on university executives’ salaries

The province of Alberta is limiting the pay and perks post-secondary top executives are offered, according to the Edmonton Sun. This decision comes after the provincial government launched a review into agencies, boards, and commissions identified for consolidation or dissolution in the 2016 budget, an initiative that will save $33 million over three years, according to a press release by the Alberta government. According to the Alberta government website, the review consists of three phases, with phase one focussing on agencies, boards, and commissions (ABCs) that are subject to the Alberta Public Agency Governance Act (APAGA), and phase two being ABCs that are not subjected to APAGA. Phase three—currently in progress—consists of reviewing Alberta’s public post-secondary institutions’ compensations. For the post-secondary review, the […]

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University of Calgary to send phishing emails to staff and faculty

Faculty and staff at the University of Calgary (U of C) are about to put their online vigilance to the test. The university is planning to send out a series of fake phishing emails to educate employees about the convincing appearance and dangers of online scams. Linda Dalgetty, the university’s vice-president of finance and services, said the school has been openly discussing phishing since 2010 and wanted to add a practical component. “Phishing is becoming so prevalent and so regular at the university that we just felt this was a logical next step,” Dalgetty said. Last year, the U of C was victimized by a ransomware attack that resulted in the university paying $20,000 to a hacker to regain access to computer files. According to Dalgetty, the new phishing education program aims to protect the university and its employees’ […]

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Canadian universities respond to American travel ban

Following the U.S. executive order passed on Jan. 27 that banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, several Canadian universities responded with generosity. Universities such as Brock University, Memorial University, and the University of Calgary issued statements offering financial help to potential students from the affected areas, waiving application fees for international students. Brock University also offered a $1,000 “transition award” to help students move to the university’s main campus. The University of Ottawa went a step further in their statement and offered to waive international tuition for some students. Law schools at McGill University and the University of Toronto have reopened their application windows for prospective students from the countries targeted by the ban. Carleton offered support […]

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Carleton hack highlights university security issues

Carleton University’s network fell victim to a ransomware attack on Nov. 29, with the hackers behind the incident asking for bitcoins in return for data. The hackers demanded two bitcoin, roughly $2,000, in exchange for re-access to data on infected computers. Ransomware attacks typically originate when a virus is installed on a computer. The virus then encrypts data and demands a ransom in order to decrypt it. The anonymous nature of bitcoin as a currency means the attackers are seldom found, even after the ransom is paid. Bitcoin’s website states that transactions using the currency do not contain customers’ personal information, and “no individual or organization can control or manipulate the bitcoin protocol because it is cryptographically secure.” Carleton released […]

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