WannaCry Ransomware: What You Need to Know

ransomware
Monday, May 15, 2017

Since Friday, May 12, the latest ransomware threat has dominated news cycles, and rightly so (NPR’s  and CNN Tech's reports contain great information to help consumers understand this outbreak).   The malicious software has been called several variations of WannaCry, including WannaCrypt, Wana Decryptor, and W Cry. 

Could This Affect Me?

If you use a Windows PC and have not updated it recently, you could be vulnerable. Microsoft released patches for its more vulnerable systems, including older operating systems (e.g., Windows XP and Windows Server 2003).  

What Should I Do?

University systems have been or are in the process of being updated. If you have a Windows PC at home, please be sure to install all updates immediately, and ensure that all of your systems are set to automatically update.

How Can I Prevent Being a Victim of Ransomware?

Ransomware is often spread via phishing emails or by visiting infected websites.  To prevent infection, do the following: 

  1. Be cautious with every email you receive.  Follow our advice on phishing to help prevent this type of infection. 
  2. Ensure that you have antivirus installed on ALL your devices (including mobile devices), and that the software is set to automatically update.  If you do not have antivirus installed, all UA students, faculty and staff are eligible to receive Sophos Endpoint Security free of charge. 
  3. Surf the internet with caution.  Visit our online security page for more tips on protecting yourself and your data.
  4. Backup your data! Falling victim to ransomware does not have to mean paying out money to a hacker if you backup your data.