Phishing Alert: "HelpDesk Update" Scam Threatens to Block Account | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

Phishing Alert: "HelpDesk Update" Scam Threatens to Block Account

Saturday, June 3, 2017 - 11:11

Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD) is responding to a new email phishing scam that claims you must update your account by clicking on a link or your account will be blocked. The link directs readers to a harmful Web site that mimics an Outlook login page and attempts to collect your username and password. The email scam appears to originate from a compromised University email account. It appears that this phishing scam has been received by a large portion of the University community.  

The following is a sample of the recent fraudulent email. If you receive this message (or any message similar to it), please report it as a phishing scam by forwarding the email message as an attachment to Detailed instructions on reporting scams are available at


Subject: HelpDesk Update


Dear Staffs,
This e-mail has been sent to you by IT-Service Help Desk If you do not agree to update your account, your email account will be blocked.
Click Here To Update
IT-Service Help Desk


The link in the phishing email directs readers to a malicious Web page (shown below) that mimics an outdated Outlook login page.

Fake login page

CSSD strongly recommends that you do not reply to unsolicited emails or emails from unverifiable sources. Avoid clicking on links contained in such emails, as these may lead to sites that contain harmful software. If a link looks suspicious, you can hover over the link with your mouse to preview the URL without clicking on it.

In addition, CSSD recommends that all users install Symantec Endpoint Protection software and use the LiveUpdate feature to get the latest virus definitions. As a complement to Symantec Endpoint Protection, CSSD offers Malwarebytes Premium for individuals and departments at no cost. Students, faculty, and staff can download Malwarebytes and Symantec Endpoint Protection at no cost through the Software Download Service at My Pitt. Departments can submit a help request to obtain Malwarebytes for multiple machines.

Please contact the Technology Help Desk at 412-624-HELP [4357] if you have any questions regarding this announcement.