Oxford Blocks Google Docs in Response to Phishing Scams

Oxford_University_LogoThe University of Oxford temporarily blocked Google Docs on Monday in an attempt to make its students and professors more aware of an increase in phishing scams that use the Web service. In a blog post, Robin Stevens, a communications programmer at Oxford, said university officials had decided to take “extreme action” after what they perceived to be Google’s inaction on the issue.

In the schemes, attackers, often pretending to be from Oxford, send out Google Doc forms that ask users to enter their personal e-mail passwords. Students and faculty members deceived by the form then freely type in that information, unwittingly lending their account to the attacker. “Almost all the recent attacks have used Google Docs URLs, and in some cases the phishing e-mails have been sent from an already-compromised university account to large numbers of other Oxford users,” said Mr. Stevens.

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