Fordham punks students with fake virus

False alarm! You don’t really need to go to court. Or do you?

As part of a new campaign to boost Internet safety, Fordham’s IT Office decided to send a fake Internet virus to students via the university’s email system Monday morning, and then later apologized after a number of students took the threat seriously.

The fake phishing virus was sent with the subject line: “Notice to appear in court – docket #6929” — every college student’s worst nightmare? — and the goal of the email was “to help improve your skills at identifying and reacting to malicious emails,” said Jason Benedict, director of Fordham’s Information Security Office.

“Unfortunately, the content of this particular simulation raised unanticipated sensitivities for some students,” he wrote to students in a follow-up — and verified — email Monday night.

“We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience this exercise may have caused you,” he continued.

A copy of the fake email virus that was sent:

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 1.38.09 AM

In the Jesuit spirit of being men and women for others, students took to Facebook and Twitter to warn one another about the email.

After members of the Fordham community fell prey to outside phishing scams earlier this year, the IT Office announced in early March that the university would be sending a series of “mock phishing email exercises” to educate students about Internet safety.