News briefs: 2-2-15

Phishing scams target students

Students are the recent targets of a nation-wide boom in “phishing” scams that advertise work-from-home jobs and trick students into entering their financial information online. 

According to a recent FBI public service announcement, students receive the fake job offers on their university email accounts and enter their bank account information, which the scammers then use to transfer stolen funds through a direct deposit.

Students can then be framed for the theft, prosecuted and forced to carry the incident on their record.

Last Friday, DePaul Information Services sent its own email to students, faculty and staff regarding the phishing scams.

University students, faculty and staff are increasingly the recipients of fake emails with links that direct them to a pop-up window claiming their computer has a virus.

Jerry Li, an information service lab assistant at DePaul, explained that these pop-ups offer a free trial of a cleaning software. Other pop-ups require users to enter financial information to buy the software.

“Users in fact download a malware that slows down their computer and can then either steal personal information stored on a user’s computer or copy the information saved in the auto-password functions on an Internet browser,” Li said.

“Very often students don’t realize they have a problem until their computer slows down or they notice unusual pop-up ads at the bottom of their browser screen.”

“We normally deal with viruses as a result of users opening a link they shouldn’t have,” DePaul senior and Genius Squad employee Rebecca Gomez said.

Stephanie Bong is a DePaul junior who has been phished twice so far. She was on a personal website when one click lead to another and her personal information was taken from her. “I was logging onto a site I thought I trusted,” Bong said.

Bong said she wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

“Be cautious when you are putting your personal info on a site and know its reliability,” Bong said.

Megan Deppen contributed to this report.

Students relax through meditation

A new class is being offered at DePaul that requires no books, no papers and no finals. Three departments at DePaul have joined forces to help combat student stress by offering a class all about relaxation called Midday Meditation.

Every Thursday at noon, the Ray Meyer Fitness Center hosts a half hour of meditation training, with a different facilitator every week.

Rev. Diane Dardon from the Office of Religious Diversity developed the program and said she wants to offer a new voice for the students coming in each week.

“Everybody has their own style and experience,” Dardon said. “We want to offer newness and freshness for those recurring students and prevent complacency.”

University Ministry and the Office of Health and Wellness have partnered with the ray to offer the free program to students.

“Because of our facilities, we do have a focus on physical wellness, but intellectual, spiritual, emotional and physical wellness are all dimensions of ‘holistic wellness’ and are all interconnected,” Sarah Hardin, associate director of Wellness Services said.

“It is important for us to find a space to let students, faculty, and staff free themselves and become one with their whole person,” Rev. Dardon said.

Students have a lot to gain from practicing meditation, Hardin said.

“It is interesting how the mind and body work together – any reduction in physical response to stress is going to positively impact a person’s ability to focus on studying for a paper, project or presentation development,” Hardin said.    

Hardin explained that some of the well-established benefits of regular meditation include lower stress, better health, resistance to illness, increased focus, better sleep, better emotional stability and positive thinking.

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