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Virus warnings, hoaxes and scams

To protect USQ computers and IT infrastructure from viruses, all computers and laptops used at USQ are required to have virus protection installed, with automatic updates scheduled. It only takes one unprotected/compromised computer for a virus outbreak to occur causing numerous hours of lost work time and IT resources in tracking, cleaning and restoring any disrupted services and systems.

From time to time, email messages circulate warning of a potential virus threat, or you might get one about Microsoft sending you money for forwarding an email message, or Microsoft announcing yesterday of a serious virus and advising you to tell everyone you know. In the majority of cases, these messages are hoaxes or urban legends that spread like wildfire across the Internet.


USQ's email facilities block the majority of spam and malicious content, however due to the changing nature of mail related scams, items can get through in some instances. We ask that you take caution in clicking on any link in emails. Note also that USQ will never ask for “verification” or “confirmation” of your details to a website without prior notification or instruction.

It is important that you do not click or open attachments from emails in which you do not recognise or expect.

How to recognise a fraudulent email

Scams and fraudulent email can be recognised by containing any features such as:

  1. Lack of USQ or vendor branding
  2. The sender not having a email address e.g.
  3. A message requesting you to click a link that originates in another country such as France not ending with a “” domain
  4. ICT Services and USQ Marketing will never address an email to a user by referring to their email address “Dear” or “Dear Sir/Madam”
  5. Emails requesting you to sign in to validate your ‘Webmail’ or bank transactions.

Note: Providing personal details and University information in response to these emails is in violation of the Acceptable use of ICT Resources Policy and may compromise your USQ account. The potential impact for University systems and services can include the loss of ability to send emails from USQ addresses to providers such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and other mail providers. Your USQ account being compromised allows an attacker access to personal information such as HR Self Service with potential to result in identity fraud. Due to this risk to you and the University, we ask that you take caution in clicking any links contained within emails.

I've clicked an email I shouldn't have

If you've already provided personal or banking details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately (using their publicly available details, not the ones in the email you received) and monitor your bank statements for unauthorised transactions. If you've provided any account information, change any passwords you may have disclosed for your account either USQ or personal.

If you've already saved or clicked on an attachment, update your anti-virus software and run a complete scan of your computer. Notify ICT Client Services and repeat the anti-virus update/scan process again over the next few days. You may also wish to update any online passwords stored on your computer in case they've been accessed.