Safe Computing


What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malware designed to either encrypt files on a device rendering them unusable for the purposes of requesting payment to get access to the files, or extract protected data for the purpose of requesting payment to prevent disclosure.  There have been many headlines in the news lately about ransomware.  It can be a serious problem for industries, including Higher Education.  Ransomware has been so profitable for malicious actors that an industry has developed around it.

How to Avoid Ransomware?

You can use the following steps to keep S&T from being a headline:

  • Keep your software up to date.
    • IT sends out announcements to let you know when we update campus computers.
    • If you believe your computer is not getting updated, let IT Helpdesk know.
  • Keep your accounts secure.
    • Do not share your passwords with other people.
    • Do not reuse campus account passwords on any of your personal accounts.
    • Use Multi-Factor Authentication on all your accounts.
  • Separate personal and work digital identities.
    • Do not use work resources from personal computers.
    • Do not send or receive personal email on your work email account.

Many ransomware attempts against higher education institutions come at the end of the semester, so be vigilant against phishing attempts during this time.

What to do if you are a victim of Ransomware?

Report the incident to IT Security.