spam and phishing

Spam and phishing emails

It is nearly impossible for a computer program to accurately discriminate between junk mail and desired mail. ITMS works to filter as much of the junk mail that can be deemed "junk" however due to the nature of the internet, there will still be some that sneak through.

What we can do however, is help you to identify which emails are spam and which are phishing and deal with them accordingly.

Reporting Spam and Phishing Emails

The simplest method to report is to use the "Phish Alert Report" button in Outlook.

or if you don't have this button please send the original email as a *.msg by selecting the email within your Outlook client, and pressing "CTRL+ALT+F" on your keyboard (this will open a new email and add the selected email as an attachment).
Forward to It will be inspected and blocked if needed.

If you think you may have inadvertently supplied your CDU username and password to an email or website, please change your password immediately and contact ITMS on (08) 8946 6600.

Please see the relevant drop down panels below to see how to deal with them.

For more information (or real life examples), ITMS have created a video on spam and phishing (8 mins).

Open all | Close all

Spam and phishing can be defined as:

  • Spam: emails sent to a recipient that are not wanted, similar to junk mail you would get in your home letterbox.
  • Phishing: emails containing links to websites asking for usernames and passwords or other personal information (ie. fishing for information)

Be aware some of these emails and websites can look official with CDU logos and names however ITMS will never ask you for your username or password.

Spam emails are harder to block due to the constant changing of addresses from which they are sent from. Phishing emails however, usually point to a particular webpage which is designed to "trick" users into believing that they are from a legitimate source and request that a user sign in.

A “phishing” scam is a fraudulent email used by scammers to solicit personal information such as your password or banking details. Phishing scams will masquerade as a legitimate business (such as the University) so they appear more convincing.

Warning Signs of Spam

  • The sender address looks suspicious and is not a "" address.
  • The email does not address you personally.
  • It asks you to send personal information.
  • It does not provide contact information.

Latest Scam

Information Technology Management and Support (ITMS) is seeing an alarming number of reported scam emails that impersonate University staff members.

How the scam works

  • The scammer looks up the Staff Directory to identify a staff of high standing (e.g., Vice Chancellor, Head of School)
  • They create a fake Gmail email account in the staff member's name (e.g.,
  • They send a short message which begins with something like "Are you available?" or “I am in a meeting now and cannot call you. Can you do something for me?”
  • When the victim responds, the attacker proceeds to instruct the victim to either (a) buy iTunes gift cards and send pictures of the redeem codes or (b) transfer money via MoneyGram.

How to detect and prevent these scams

  • Please examine the sender name and address carefully. If it does not come from an email, do not trust the email.
  • If in doubt call the person directly, or start a new email don't hit [Reply].
  • Your Line Manager or Head of School will never ask you to buy iTunes gift cards or transfer money urgently.
  • Please DO NOT respond to suspicious emails. Report the email to, or contact the Service Desk (6600) if you are in doubt.

ITMS has been informed that some users receive “Cold Calls”. This is  where the caller requests the user to participate in a Survey (or other online activity) and then gives them the address of a “Malicious Website” that will infect their computer. We strongly advise you to just hang up on these calls.

So you may ask, “what are the consequences of not protecting my username and password?”

Some staff may be under the false impression that maintaining the security of their username and password is not very important, as it will only affect them. This is not correct and has the potential to affect everyone at CDU.

To better understand the importance of account security, please read the explanation below.

Once a username and password has been obtained by a “spammer,” they will start to send Spam emails from that compromised email account, as if they were the legitimate owner of that email account. Companies such as Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and Gmail start to receive this flood of emails and then blacklist the place they came from (ie CDU), not the person.

These blacklists are then subscribed to by other organisations such as the NT Government and Federal Government departments, which means that anyone at CDU that tries to send an email to people whose workplace subscribes to these blacklists, will start to get emails bouncing back to them. This is because CDU has been blacklisted and the organisations are rejecting the emails. Getting removed from a blacklist is not an easy thing to do, as it can require changes to the mail servers and contacting people outside of CDU to make changes that are outside of ITMS's control.

The spammers get sneaky in other ways. They may trick 6 people in to giving them their username and passwords and then use only two of these. Once these two email accounts have been locked down again, they will use the next two and so on. Often they will wait for a Friday night, or the night before a long weekend, to start using the username and passwords, because they know it will take longer to be picked up and then corrected, which allows them more time to send more spams than they normally would. So if you think you may have been tricked, even though no one may have contacted you, there is no harm changing your password to remove this possibility.

Phishing emails should be forwarded by email to for processing however Spam emails can be better dealt with by following the instructions below.

Use Outlook's Block Sender feature to add intrusive spam to your Block Sender List, and then move it to the Junk Email folder. This works fine if you receive fewer than a dozen emails a day.

Select the spam email, right-click, choose Junk from the drop menu, and click Block Sender. Or, Select Home > Junk > Block Sender. Outlook marks it and relocates it immediately.

Block sender menu in Outlook

These types of emails are usually personalised to the receiver and are focused on marketing a particular product or service.

Every marketing based email will have a visible "unsubscribe" mechanism, and this is usually a link at the bottom of the email. If you want to unsubscribe, scroll all the way down to the bottom and look for the “unsubscribe” link. It’s often in fairly small text so you don’t notice it, but it should always be there. To speed things up, you can press "Ctrl+F" to bring up the search feature in your browser or email client and type “unsubscribe” to search for it.

Unsubscribe option on email

Video Transcript (PDF 195KB)

If your are having trouble viewing the video click here

Recognise a Spam Email

Ever spam email will be different so people should not be looking for specific indicators but more the email as a whole. Sometimes the best indicator of a spam email is what isn't there. Email that are generic and make no mention of CDU should sound alarm bells straight away.

Below is an spam email and the indicators that reveal that this is not a genuine email. Move the left edge to the right to reveal the indicators.

Quick Quiz

Test your knowledge of the different types of Spam emails.


Contact information


IT Kiosk, Red 8, Casuarina campus
Office hours: 8am - 4pm, Mon- Fri (CST)

08 8946 6600 (ext 6600)
Phone hours: 7:30am - 6pm (Mon - Thu)
7.30am - 5.30pm (Fri)


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