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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

News in Brief: Middlebury modifies directory to require login, aiming to prevent phishing

The online directory has changed from public to restricted access in order to guard against phishing and other potential security issues. Announced on April 10, the new system requires a Middlebury login to access contact information, as opposed to the previous directory, which made such information available to the public.  

The decision was made by senior leadership from the Offices of Student Life, Enterprise Risk, Information Technology Services (ITS), and Communications and Marketing, according to Chris Norris, vice president for Information Technology. 

In an email to The Campus, Norris highlighted that even though the online directory has been historically protected by various privacy and security controls to limit user access, there was enough contact information available for scammers to create intricate phishing schemes.

“Enough individual contact information remained public for online scammers to launch sophisticated email phishing attacks, such as sending emails designed to trick community members into entering their Middlebury credentials into fake login pages used to compromise accounts and gain unauthorized access to personal and private information,” Norris wrote.

The change aims to fix the security issue while still providing access for the Middlebury community, Norris described. 

“While this one change cannot eliminate all of the above-mentioned concerns, moving the online directory behind Middlebury authentication reduces public availability of individual contact information, while still providing access for our community members,” he wrote. 

Norris did not cite any specific incidents of online scams, but noted that the rate of digital crime is increasing on a general scale. He emphasized the importance of protecting community members against online threats such as financial fraud, identity theft and harassment.

“This change represents a privacy and security improvement for our students, faculty, and staff,” Norris wrote.