WSU Cougar Head Logo Washington State University
WSU Insider
News and Information for Faculty, Staff, and the WSU Community

Cyber security tips: Social engineering and personalized attacks

Attackers obtain your personal information through publicly available sources such as social media sites or may purchase personal information online. This information is then used to personalize their social engineering scams. They may try and trick you into believing that they have information that would be detrimental if released or that they somehow already have access to your systems, photos, or other key data to get you to pay them, or give them more information to enable access to your accounts, computer, etc. This approach is unfortunately oftentimes effective as people act out of fear.

Social engineering attackers may use familiar names, passwords, phone numbers, or other information to get you to believe that they are targeting you directly. Attackers use psychological tactics, and they know that when you are afraid, embarrassed, or feel rushed that you are more likely to believe them and comply with their requests.

If you receive a suspicious email with any of these characteristics, immediately report it to IT Security Services by forwarding it to

Questions? Contact:

The Notices and Announcements section is provided as a service to the WSU community for sharing events such as lectures, trainings, and other highly transactional types of information related to the university experience. Accuracy of the information presented is the responsibility of those who submitted it. The self-uploaded posts are reviewed for compliance with state statutes and ethics guidelines but are not edited by the News and Media Relations unit for spelling, grammar or clarity.

Categories: Announcements

Recent News

WSU Core-to-Career program announces members of third cohort

Twenty-one Washington State University faculty have been named as the newest members of the Core-to-Career professional development program that impacts undergradutes’ career readiness.

Sharing American political and judicial expertise overseas

Recipient of a Fulbright Senior Specialist award for a three-week visit to Slovakia, WSU’s Cornell Clayton held a series of lectures for graduate and undergraduate students focusing on contemporary American politics.

College of Education appoints Eric Johnson as associate dean

Eric Johnson, an English language learners professor, will begin his two-year term on Aug. 16 and will focus heavily on faculty and staff professional development aimed at fostering an inclusive and equitable educational environment within the college.

WSU lab joins network identifying new pathogens

As part of the $1.7 billion Pathogen Genomics Center of Excellence, the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory will play a key role preventing the spread of disease-causing pathogens, including new COVID-19 variants.

Find More News