Category: Security

New Email Security Feature

A Sender Policy Framework (SPF) will be applied to the University’s email system from Tue 15 Aug. This best practice measure is part of an ongoing effort to help everyone stay safe and secure.

What does SPF do?
It passes your received email through an automatic ‘check’ to:

  • Verify that it comes from the University’s email system
  • Confirm that the displayed sender address matches the one found in the email header (i.e. it is not from a ‘spoofed’ account)

SPF inserts a warning message into any email that fails either/both of these checks to let you know it carries the tell-tale signs of an illegitimate message. From then on, it is up to you to make some informed decisions.


Will I notice anything different?
Potentially, yes. If any of the emails you receive fail the SPF check, they will be tagged with text (outlined below) in the subject line and the email body itself as a header to highlight this to you:

  • Subject line: ‘UNVERIFIED SENDER’
  • Email body: ‘The University e-mail system cannot verify the authenticity of this message; treat it with caution’

Does that mean it’s definitely spam?
No. The check itself is not 100% fool proof and on occasion, it may fail legitimate emails. If there are grounds for you to think this is the case, for example you were expecting an email from that person or on that subject, personally check with the sender to confirm their email is genuine before engaging with anything in it.

What is it for then?
SPF is here to enhance your ability to identify malicious emails, not to replace your important and continued role in the process of doing so. Please always consider each email you receive with care and exercise the sound thinking we’ve shared with you on many occasions before interacting with any links, attachments or calls to action they contain, as we know you already endeavour to do.

What should I do if I receive an email with the warning message?

  • Follow the advice given above and be cautious with it until you are confident it is legitimate. If you cannot confirm this yourself, please contact IT via Help4U so we can investigate on your behalf.
  • Follow the instructions below in the event the email is suspicious and we will apply appropriate technical measures to prevent that sender entering anything into your email system again.

How do I report a suspicious email?
Send (do not forward) it to us as an attachment using the instructions on this webpage.

Why are we doing this?
Every day brings with it more headlines about accounts being hacked, ransomware attacks making their way around the world and systems being compromised. The University takes security seriously and SPF is a small factor we can introduce that will help you contribute to keeping your place of work or study as cyber safe as it can be.

If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please contact us via Help4U (ref C1707-023).

Ransomware – Be Vigilant Please

You will see widespread news reports regarding ransomware affecting organisations across the world.

We have tested and deployed access protection proactive measures, which will protect all staff and student desktops as advised by our vendor, however, please:

Educate yourself
An email cannot corrupt your device on its own, you have to interact with it. Think:

  • When you receive an email to your University account, consider if you were expecting correspondence on that topic, from that recipient. If you weren’t, and the message is calling for you to act either by sending information, clicking on an active link, or downloading an attachment, first ask the IT Service Desk to confirm its legitimacy.
  • Never tick/check enable macros on attachments, unless you explicitly need to and trust the sender.
  • Don’t run a program if you don’t know where it has come from and haven’t chosen to install it yourself.

Further advice can be found on the Information Security website section.

Getting help
UoD IT staff are available 09:00-22:00 Mon-Fri and 10:00-22:00 Sat-Sun. Please log a call for assistance via Help4U if you have any concerns.

Phishing Scam: ‘FW: Urgent Attention Required.’

Some users are receiving emails with the Subject: FW: Urgent Attention Required.

These emails look like they are coming from a member of staff within the University – the content is “You have received a secured document “Outstanding Payment”. To view the document click here.”

Do NOT click on the link provided. If you have clicked on the link, please reset your password straight away.

If you have any queries, please contact Help4U.

Junk Mail from: scot-ccm-noreply@eurodyn.com

An unknown number of users have received spam mail:

From: <scot-ccm-noreply@eurodyn.com>

We are taking action to have these blocked from coming into the University, however locally you can:

Highlight the email (Right Click) -> Junk -> Block Sender

More information about Spam Mail and how to identify email scams can be found on our website.

Please contact the IT Service Desk if you have clicked on any links/attachments or if you need additional information or support.

Nuisance calls that appear to come from an internal number

The University has recently experienced a small number of nuisance calls. Whilst they appear to be from numbers within the University, they do not originate from our systems.

What is the easiest way to check if the call is legitimate?
Nuisance calls that appear to be from a University extension will display an 01382 dial code in front of the University number. Genuine internal calls will normally only display a five-digit short number on your office telephone.

Colleagues should feel comfortable ending any call which uses threatening or abusive language and should not feel that they are required to engage with any caller displaying such behaviour.

Phishing scam: ‘Expiration Notice’

An unknown number of users have received a phishing scam message:

From: Helen Murray <userservices.supervisor@gmail.com>

Subject: Expiration Notice

The message claims that ‘your access to “My Dundee” will soon expire’. It goes on to state “You can reactivate it by logging in through the following URL” which is hyperlinked into the email.

Do NOT click on the link provided. The link is NOT to a Dundee site, but to leads to a .Dundee.ac.neze address, which is not legitimate.

Users should always change or reset passwords using proper University methods.

Best practice is to delete the email entirely. Please do not reply to the e-mail or click/copy-paste the link within it.

More information about Phishing and how to identify email scams can be found on our website.

Please contact the IT Service Desk if you have clicked on the link or pasted it into your browser’s address window, or if you need additional information or support.

Phishing scam: ‘Your 02 Bill’

An unknown number of users have received a phishing scam message:

From: My 02 Business <wielen155@mycenter.pl> 
Note that the sender address can be anything; the ‘O2’ spam messages about which we have been notified come from different accounts in different domains.

Subject: my02Business – Your 02 Bill is ready

The message states that ‘…you have a bill for xx/xx/xx. This month you have a payment for £xxx. We will take it away from your account at the payment day, or a bit after.’  It goes on to mention that you should click on a web address (to view your bill) included in the message. 

Do NOT click on the link provided.

Best practice is to delete the email entirely. Please do not reply to the e-mail or click/copy-paste the link within it.

More information about Phishing and how to identify email scams can be found on our website.

Please contact the IT Service Desk if you have clicked on the link or pasted it into your browser’s address window, or if you need additional information or support.

Phishing scam: ‘Library Notifications’

An unknown number of users have received a phishing scam message:

From: University of Dundee <library@dundee.ac.uk>
Subject: Library Notifications

The message states that ‘…the University Libraries will be implementing changes to the authentication mechanism used for granting access to subscribed article databases….’  It goes on to state that you should click on a web address included in the message or copy and paste the address into your web browser.

Do NOT perform either action.

Best practice is to delete the email entirely. Please do not reply to the e-mail or click/copy-paste the link within it.

More information about Phishing and how to identify email scams can be found on our website.

Please contact the IT Service Desk if you have clicked on the link or pasted it into your browser’s address window, or if you need additional information or support.

Phishing scam: Project Update projectDOCS.pdf

An unknown number of users have received a phishing scam message:

From: a known contact of a user
Subject: Project Update
With an attachment entitled: projectDOCS.pdf

This will most likely appear to have been sent by one of your email contacts. Opening the PDF requests your login details and it states that the .PDF is safe and can be accessed via your email address and password.

Best practice is to delete the email entirely. Please do not open or download the attachment if you have received this message to your inbox as you may be introducing a security threat to your device.

More information about Phishing and how to identify email scams can be found on our website.

Please contact the IT Service Desk if you have clicked on the attachment or need additional information or support.

Having trouble with VPN?

Update | 22 September 2016

The Cisco VPN service was successfully recovered yesterday afternoon and appears to be working as usual. We will continue to investigate a means of ensuring the service continues to remain stable and reliable until its eventual replacement as part of the Network Refresh project.

Many thanks for your patience.


Update | 21 September 2016

Yesterday the Cisco VPN service stopped working.

Troubleshooting has confirmed that the VPN appliance itself is operating fine, but the back-end Cisco authentication of users is the faulty component. We are presently working on trying to re-direct the RADIUS authentication requests to another server, but we are experiencing some interoperability issues with this. The 12-year old unsupported VPN service doesn’t seem to play well in a modern environment.

Please do understand we are working hard to resolve this and will provide an update here as soon as we have a solution in place.

If you are affected by this please contact us at: uod.ac.uk/help4u noting call ID # 194644


Original message |  20 September 2016

We are aware that people attempting to use the University’s VPN service to gain off-campus access to internal resources are having problems. The team are currently investigating the matter, although at present, a time-frame for resolution cannot be given. Updates will be added to this post as they arise, but for now, we’ve given a bit of context about this issue below.

VPN at a glance
Our existing VPN forms part of the old Cisco network and is 12 years old. We are working to replace it with a new, fit-for-purpose, modern tool.

Why refreshing our network is the true fix
The ageing nature of the current network and its related components make it difficult to identify the root cause of issues that arise with it. We are actively replacing the University’s network and in achieving the projects goals, a robust infrastructure that is feasibly supportable will be delivered. This includes a new, compatible VPN that will allow for more reliable remote access.

The network refresh changes will offer a

  • New wireless network providing a faster, more reliable, wider coverage and a consistent connection speed across campus.
  • New wired network providing a more reliable and consistent service across campus.
  • More modern, energy efficient, network infrastructure, leading to a reduction in the University’s emissions output and carbon footprint.
  • New and consistent security design across both wired and wireless networks.

More information on the Network Refresh can be found on the project blog