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Hackers repulsed, but IT now fears spear phishers

Microsoft has re-opened traffic from University of Copenhagen mail servers. But IT people worry over a more insidious threat

Staff and students can now receive mails from the University of Copenhagen to their hotmail accounts. This is according to the information security head at the University of Copenhagen Henrik Larsen.

»This morning we have received word that Microsoft has looked into the case, and re-opened our servers,« he said Friday.

The University of Copenhagen mail system had been infiltrated by IT-criminals hacking their way into four staff accounts by using phishing e-mails.

Menacing

But information security staff now admit to worries about a new threat

The current attack was apparently only to steal mail addreses, which subsequently were bombarded with spam and new phishing e-mails, but the next could be far worse.

»We have heard of examples in other organisations of spear phishing, where a staff member is targeted for a particularly menacing type of fraud. This includes fake spreadsheets giving the sender access to sensitive information,« says Henrik Larsen.

A lot of treasure

The University of Copenhagen is in the possession of at least 100,000 personal (cpr = ID numbers, ed.) numbers, research patents, employee contracts, information about grades, and other sensitive information and data.

»We have a lot of gold that we muse keep secure,« says Henrik Larsen.

chz@adm.ku.dk

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