Cybersecurity awareness month: Spotlight on email attacks [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2017

23% of people that receive phishing emails will open them.

Considering that the University received over 5 million spam emails last year, there is a serious possibility that you or your coworkers will be the target of an email attack.

Identifying elements of suspicious emails is one step you can take to avoid being a target. Learn more about identifying email attacks.

For the month of October, we’re celebrating cyber security awareness month by highlighting topics covered in the new Digital Self-Defence online training. Email, Phishing and Messaging is one of modules of the training which is now available for permanent, full-time, non-teaching staff. Protect yourself and our organization by taking the training today.

Email, Phishing and Messaging [INFOGRAPHIC]

Text version: 

Spotlight on Email, Phishing and Messaging

Over 1 in 10 emails sent to uOttawa emails are SPAM or email viruses.

97% of people cannot identify a sophisticated phishing email.1

Ask yourself these questions when suspicious about email

  • Is there a sense of urgency? Limited time offer, deadline for action, or threat of negative consequences
  • Does the message have an awkward tone? Uses odd language, sounds unnatural, poor grammar and spelling mistakes
  • Are the links and email addresses legit? Email addresses don’t match the sender’s name, or hovering over links reveal links to unknown/suspicious URLs
  • Is the greeting generic? “Dear customer”, “Hello sir/madam”
  • Does it try to imitate the company’s brand? For example, for the University of Ottawa the email reference OttawaU instead of uOttawa
  • Is the email asking you to share or confirm personal information? Such as your name or passwords


Dear employee,

You’re OttawaU email account has been accessed by external users. Don’t loose valuable information, change your profile and password immediately online. For your convenience you can confirm your username and password by replying to this email and we will verify your account security and send you you’re new password.

If you think you’re account is compromised already run the attached virus scanner to remove any viruses.

Joe Smith
ottawaU help desk


Actions to stay safe with suspicious emails

  • Don’t reply, click on links, open attachments, or share personal information (especially for unsolicited emails). Hover over email links with you mouse cursor, if they don’t lead to where you expect, don’t click.
  • Beware of tricks to make you think links and emails are genuine, ex. u0ttawa or uOtttawa vs. uOttawa.
  • If you’ve inadvertently shared information, clicked on a link or opened an attachment, contact the Service Desk immediately.
  • If you are unsure, or suspicious, call the sender or just delete the email.



  1. Intel Security Phishing quiz 2015
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