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Anatomy of an IT Message

IT occasionally sends out important messages to the campus. How can you tell if it's really a message from us, and not a scam? Here are some concrete examples of differences between our important messages and a phishing message.

  1. Our important messages appear both on the Intranet and in your email.
    When we want everyone on campus to know about something, we use the Intranet announcement system. If it's critical, it appears in your email as well as the Intranet; if it's not critical, it appears only on the Intranet. Important IT messages are never sent to the entire campus without being posted on the Intranet. Note that sometimes we do smaller, targeted emails without posting to the Intranet, but in that case you can use some of these other tips.
  2. The instructions tell you what to do (for example, "type '' into your web browser"), instead of providing you a link to do it.
    A link can look like it's going one place, but actually take you to somewhere completely different. It's always safest to type in the address you want to go to, especially if you're dealing with a security matter.
  3. The message is sent from
    Sometimes we do send messages to a group of people using other mechanisms, but in that case you should be able to recognize the address as that of someone in IT at Hampshire. Note that this is not in and of itself a guarantee, since even our accounts can be compromised, but it's a good piece of evidence.
  4. The message is signed by with a specific name that you know from Hampshire IT.
    In most incidences of user ID/password theft, the name of the person would not be stolen. If you aren't familiar with the name, you can use your browser and type in "" to look the person up.

These clues, combined with your good judgment, should provide adequate protection for you. If you're in doubt, contact the IT help desk.


Contact Us

Information Technology
Harold F. Johnson Library Center
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Fax 413.559.5419

© 2014 Hampshire College 893 West Street Amherst, MA 01002 . 413.549.4600