UAT Cyber Security Expert Advice

Friday, June 26, 2020

Experts at the University of Advancing Technology, a top technology-focused college, share top advice on how to avoid hacker and scammers online.

More people than ever are spending time online due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in the need for social and physical distancing measures since the beginning of this year. While the phased reopening of businesses has already started in several cities and states across the country, it may still be necessary to remind ourselves of how to take care of our safety and information online.

Hackers and scammers are always present online, looking for ways to access business and personal accounts to churn a quick profit.

Jason Pistillo, the president of University of Advancing Technology, one of the best colleges focused wholeheartedly on study and research of the top fields in technology, shared that companies and individuals can use virus and malware security systems to help prevent hacking.

Email fraud, in fact, is a huge concern. Pistillo has shared that email scammers have even come after the UAT:

"It began with an email from a vendor seeking a valid payment, but when the accounting department responded to that original email, a hacker intercepted it and requested that the money be paid electronically to the hacker's account.

Our accounting department noticed something was wrong because the reply address converted to a new email with only a single different letter. 'This was sneaky,' Pistillo said. 'What they're doing is hijacking the requests as they go out. I don't know if anybody else would have caught it. Our accounting department is savvy. After all, they're around a bunch of hackers all day long.'"

As seen, hackers and scammers target businesses such as universities. They may also target individuals.

What is some advice for avoiding hackers and scammers online?

Tom Tardy, UAT professor of Network Security, shares advice for dealing with emails:

  1. Hover over links to see where they go, but don’t click them.
  2. Make sure when you hit reply the email address is the same as the original.
  3. Check your Junk Email Settings (In Outlook, Home>Delete group>Junk>Junk email options). 
    ⇒ Go to ‘adjust settings’ under each tab.
    ⇒ Block TLDs (Top Level Domains) from countries. Emails should only be coming from a .com, .org, etc.; NOT a .cn or .ru.c.
    ⇒ Install Microsoft Junk E-mail Reporting Add-in (for personal email).

    ⇒ Install spam reporting Add-in (for corporate email).

Jacy Smith, Perimeter83’s Business Development Specialist, shares advice for keeping accounts where domain names are registered safer than usual.

Perimeter 83 is a corporate training and technology startup coworking space found on UAT’s Tempe, Arizona campus.

⇒ Take a look at the DNS records for domain names to make sure all of the records are current, accurate and appropriate for the services you or your company are using. 
 Update passwords to the account where your DNS is managed (probably your domain host) on a regular basis. 
 Enable two-factor or multi-factor authentication for these accounts, if available. 
 If you’re unsure, contact your domain registrar (whoever you purchased their domain from) and ask tech support to review the DNS settings.

If you do get hacked, Smith suggests taking the following steps before contacting an IT expert:

⇒ Disconnect from the internet.
⇒ Run anti-virus scans, both online and offline (if available).
⇒ Change all of your passwords.
⇒ Enable multifactor authentication.
⇒ Don't engage with a hacker—that’s not a fight you want.
⇒ In event of ransomware, this link may help:

Pistillo shares some final words:
“I've been doing this for 25 years, so it's not often that I'm surprised." But, according to UAT, that’s because he’s always looking.

Also according to UAT,

"Keeping your computer updated and anti-virus definitions current is just a very small piece of the cyber security picture, because the biggest vulnerability is human error. Keep your eyes open and stay cyber safe. The image of a guy in a hoodie in a dark basement is an old one… the girl next door or an average guy across the globe may be watching you right now!"

We hope that the advice offered in this article helps put you at ease when it comes to thinking about online hackers and scammers. As shown, there are clear steps businesses and individuals can take to look out for their online safety.

Does a career in cyber security call out to you?

Check out these top bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs offered at UAT that are related to cyber security and similar technology fields. You may just find the perfect fit!

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Technology Forensics
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Network Security
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Advancing Computer Science

Master of Science (M.S.) in Cyber Security
Master of Science (M.S.) in Technology Leadership
Master of Science (M.S.) in Technology Innovation

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