Social Engineering - Not a New Major

October is National Cyber Security Awareness month. All month we are going to take a deeper dive on a variety of cyber security topics. In this first week we will be discussing Social Engineering.

What is social engineering? When a malicious actor uses deception to obtain or information about a person or organization.  Recent examples of Social Engineering attacks include:

  • Trying to obtain direct deposit information by impersonating Human Resources.
  • Using fake court notices (e.g. Notice to Appear) to install malware.
  • Obtaining social security numbers and date of births by asking to update Financial Aid documentation.  
  • Asking students to send payment for outstanding invoices or risk getting dropped from their classes.  

In all of these examples the attackers want to get personal information that can be used to take out loans (financial aid) in your name, gain access to your bank accounts and in general make your life miserable.

How to avoid being a victim

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls or email messages asking about your personal information, and other employees of the university or its systems.
  • Pay attention to the URL of a website; place your cursor over links to reveal their true destination.
  • If you are unsure about a request, send it to

What do you do if you think you are a victim?

  • If you may have revealed sensitive information about the university, report it to your supervisor and alert
  • If your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and watch for any unusual charges.
  • Immediately change any passwords that may have been compromised. If you used the same password for multiple sites (which you shouldn’t), make sure to change it for each account.

For more about these and other effective cyber security habits, check out NJIT's Cyber Security webpage. 

If you have any questions about NJIT's cyber security efforts, or need to report an incident, please contact the IST Service Desk at 973-596-2900 or

NJIT Cyber Safe and Secure

Cyber security is our shared responsibility. Always STOP, THINK before you click or respond to any type of electronic communication.

Last Updated: October 29, 2018