Fake invoice warning

Here is a quick blog post to warn you of targeted attempts to distribute malware by unknown and hostile persons. Over the last few weeks we have been sent numerous emails similar to the one below:

Screenshot - 28_04_2016 , 09_02_12At a first glance it looks relevant. It is addressed to me personally, it references my place of work, it has some invoicing details that could conceivably be genuine. However, alarm bells should be ringing as it is from a contact I have never heard of, the company is not relevant, the email address is not consistent with the contact name, and the email is hosted from an american cable TV/ISP company. This type of email has been dubbed a spear-phishing attack by threat researchers.

If you were to download and open the MS Word file it contains a macro which deploys a Malware payload which sniffs out data on your computer and sends it back to the command and control server. More info at:

The return of the Microsoft Word macro virus

A colleague was recently infected by malware distributed by opening a MS Word document. Whilst the infection was caught and dealt with quickly they were unfortunately a victim of online bank fraud a few weeks later which may, or may not be connected, but the timing is highly suspicious. Here is a reminder to:

  • Only open expected email attachments that come from a trusted source.
  • Don’t rely on all anti-malware software to detect viruses in email attachments as not all macro viruses are detected by antivirus software.
  • Delete any suspect emails without opening them.




APCs paid in the wild

As part of the Lessons in Open Access Compliance for Higher Education (LOCH) project we have been looking at the problems of identifying Article Processing Charges (APCs) that the Library is not currently aware of – which we colloquially call ‘APCs paid in the wild’. We have written a short case study that is currently under open review at The Winnower:

Improving estimates of the total cost of publication by recognising ‘APCs paid in the wild’

The take home message from our ‘APCs paid in the wild’ case study can be summarised as:

We estimate that these costs could account for up to 20% extra in the total cost of publication that is not currently being accounted for. This additional cost is important to take into account when institutions are negotiating fair offsetting agreements for open access publishing.

We would welcome any constructive criticism on the work so please have a read and leave an open review so that we can improve the article.