UMass Lowell warns the community of email hacks

LOWELL — UMass Lowell warned the community to beware of emails from university students claiming to be about job opportunities, after hackers targeted university email accounts with weak passwords to help spread a scam, according to a tweet and a university spokeswoman.

The university shared the warning in a tweet from the main university Twitter account Monday.

“Malicious actors have targeted our student population during the past week,” the Tweet said. “As a result, many student email accounts have been compromised. You may have received emails from UML students about job opportunities. Please do not reply to these emails and delete them immediately.”

University spokeswoman Christine Gillette provided more details on the attack in response to questions.

“As is the case with many large organizations, the university was targeted in an automated attack to compromise email accounts with weak passwords, which a scammer then uses to send scam job offers via a hacked email,” the university said in a statement released by Gillette. “The university’s automated countermeasures blocked many of these messages before they went out. Today’s communication was part of regular educational messaging to remind and warn students that these types of attacks continue and to ask them to be diligent in recognizing such scams. We also have taken aggressive measures to protect accounts, including implementing mandatory stronger password policies and multi-factor authentication for email accounts.”

The attempted hacks come less than a month after Tyngsboro Public Schools were also targeted by cyberattackers, according to police and administrators.