Anatomy of a phish: How to avoid an attack

Anatomy of a Phish 04Click the image for a larger view

It was an easy phish to fall for: An email that looked like it came from UAB President Ray Watts, with an “important announcement.”

But while it looked innocent, the email that went to students, faculty and staff across campus came from a malicious attacker trying to gain access to UAB systems — and your personal and financial information.

So how do you spot a phish? Take time to look for the signs. Even an email that seems “official” can have the telltale hallmarks of a phish.

The “Ray Watts” email, for example, didn’t actually come from Dr. Watts’ email, or any UAB address.

If you hover your mouse over the sender’s address, you see an outside email — a clear sign that it could be a malicious attacker.

Mismatched fonts, bad grammar, unsolicited attachments and links are other signs that a seemingly harmless email is actually out to steal your information.

Never click on links or open attachments in unexpected emails. Only enter your credentials — your BlazerID and password — at trusted web sites.

Being vigilant against phishing protects you — and all of UAB.

Visit to learn more about how to avoid phishing attacks and get the latest alerts.

Also, install PhishMe Reporter on Outlook so you have one-click access to report phishing emails to UAB IT's information security division.