University Technology

Cyber Security Basics

Hackers are constantly coming up with new schemes designed to compromise computers, steal passwords, or trick you into revealing valuable information. Beware of the following types of scams and techniques! 

Key Indicators of a Scam

  • You are being asked for personal or private information; your password, financial account information, social security number, or money.
  • Unexpected/unsolicited email with a link or an attachment
  • Scare tactics or threats stressing that if you don’t act quickly, something bad will happen.
  • Promises of something too good to be true.
  • Requests that you forward information to friends, co-workers, or family.
  • It’s not directly addressed to you specifically by name
  • The sender doesn’t really say who they are or doesn’t match the from address.
  • Spelling or grammatical errors
  • A link that doesn’t seem to match the location they say they are going to take you.
  • An attachment with an incorrect or suspicious filename/extension (e.g.: zip, exe, vbs, bin, com)
  • It includes links to pictures/videos from people you don’t personally know.

How to Report Scams

Report Security Scams and Incidents to uTech Security
  • Via phone: (309) 298-TECH
  • Via email:
  • Via shortcut: Utech Support Portal shortcut on your desktop
Report Phishing and Spam

Common Scams & Schemes


A scam designed to steal information, compromise computers, or trick you out of money. Typically via deceptive email, text, post on social networking sites, or phone calls. Some examples are:

  • Problems with your account - click here and send us your information or login
  • Phony security alerts - click here to fix the problem
  • Phony computer support notices – we have detected an issue, click here to fix
  • I can get you money – just do these steps and I’ll refund your money and give you more for helping me.

Attackers pose as someone in authority in order to obtain information or access to your system.


These scams lock your computer or files and won’t unlock them until you pay them money. Examples include pop-up messages on your computer saying you have a problem and they can fix it for you. Or they request you sign into a fake page that looks similar to a known page. Some sites try to hit you twice by requesting you pay via credit card. They lock your machine and then have your credit card number also.

Dumpster Diving

The simple act of going through trash in hopes that some valuable information will be there. If you have sensitive data in paper form, shred it before you throw it away.

Social Engineering

The practice of trying to trick or manipulate people into breaking normal security procedures is called social engineering. The idea behind social engineering is that people are the weak link in security. It’s easier to trick than person rather than the system protecting them. Social engineers exploit people’s natural tendency to want to trust and be helpful. They also take advantage of our tendency to act quickly when faced with an apparent crisis.