Fake Emails from Our Office

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018


Dear Diocesan Members,


Some of you may have received emails that appear to be from our office or the Bishop asking for money or asking you to purchase something on our behalf. These are part of a phishing attack. Please do not respond to these or click on them.


"Phishing" is the most common type of cyber-attack that affects organizations like ours. Phishing attacks can take many forms, but they all share a common goal - getting you to share sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card information, or bank account details.


Although we maintain controls to help protect our networks and computers from cyber threats, we rely on you to be our first line of defense.


We've outlined a few different types of phishing attacks:


Phishing: In this type of attack, hackers impersonate a real company to obtain your login credentials. You may receive an email asking you to verify your account details with a link that takes you to an imposter login screen that delivers your information directly to the attackers.

Spear Phishing: Spear phishing is a more sophisticated phishing attack that includes customized information that makes the attacker seem like a legitimate source. They may use your name and phone number and refer to the Diocese in the email to trick you into thinking they have a connection to you, making you more likely to click a link or attachment that they provide.

Whaling: Whaling is a popular ploy aimed at getting you to transfer money or send sensitive information to an attacker via email by impersonating a real company executive. Using a fake domain that appears similar to ours, they look like normal emails from a high-level official of the company, typically the CEO or CFO, and ask you for sensitive information (including usernames and passwords).

Shared Document Phishing: You may receive an email that appears to come from file-sharing sites like Dropbox or Google Drive alerting you that a document has been shared with you. The link provided in these emails will take you to a fake login page that mimics the real login page and will steal your account credentials.


What You Can Do


To avoid these phishing schemes, please observe the following email best practices:


Do not click on links or attachments from senders that you do not recognize. Be especially wary of .zip or other compressed or executable file types.

Do not provide sensitive personal information (like usernames and passwords) over email.

Watch for email senders that use suspicious or misleading domain names.

Inspect URLs carefully to make sure they are legitimate and not imposter sites.

Do not try to open any shared document that you're not expecting to receive.

Be especially cautious when opening attachments or clicking links if you receive an email containing a warning banner indicating that it originated from an external source.


Please let us know if you have any questions and please feel to contact our IT Support Manager, Mark Davis, markd@diopa.org, with any questions.