Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Protect yourself from Ransomware - some common sense rules

There has been a national increase in a type of Cyber Security Incident that you need to know about. Ransomware is a type of computer malware that encrypts a users’ data files and demands a monetary payment to decrypt them.

What Happens?

  • A College user receives an email with an attachment and a seemingly credible message to open the attachment. This email may seem to come from a trusted source.
  • The user opens the attachment and often enables macros.
  • The ransomware installs itself and begins to encrypt files on all drives connected to the computer (local, USB, and network drives).
  • The users computer wallpaper is then changed with instructions for paying the attacker in order to decrypt the files.

Why this is bad?

  • Ransomware will attempt to encrypt network drives attached to the target machine, meaning just a few users can impact everyone since shared files on the network will be encrypted.
  • Access to the data is removed as these files cannot be decrypted without the attacker providing information.

What should I do about it?

Be proactive

  • Do NOT open unsolicited attachments in email.
  • Do NOT enable macros in email attachments from anyone.

Act immediately if you think you are a victim

If you notice this behavior on your workstation...
  • Do NOT contact the attacker!
  • Contact the help desk at 251.380.2276 immediately.
Please direct any questions or concerns to the SHC IT Helpdesk at 251.380.2276 or

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