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Ransomware Attacks Reported Worldwide

There is a new type of ransomware referred to as “WanaCry” spreading quickly around the world, severely impacting services. Ransomware infects systems and prevents you from accessing your files by encrypting all your data and requiring you to pay a fee to unencrypt it.

It targets a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows for which a patch has been available since March, but there remain many systems on campus that are not yet patched. The campus firewall offers some protection by preventing direct attacks from the internet, but campus systems are still vulnerable if an infected system is brought onto campus or an authorized user with an infected system connects to UCInet from off campus.

Use of up-to-date anti-virus software can help prevent the spread of this infection, but the only way to fix the vulnerability is to apply Microsoft patches for MS17-010 (and all other critical/high risk vulnerabilities). While no infections have yet been reported on campus, we are currently identifying vulnerable systems and applying patches as soon as possible.

To best protect yourself from this and other ransomware threats:

  • Please make sure your system is fully patched.
  • Use an anti-virus program and make sure it is up to date.
  • Be careful opening email and email attachments from people you don’t know or that you weren’t expecting.
  • Don’t click on a link on a web page or an e-mail message unless you trust the web page or the sender.
  • If you need more information or help about this specific issue, or computer security issues in general, please contact the OIT Security Team at security@uci.edu

Resources and more information:

Microsoft knowledge base article on this vulnerability and patch MS17-010: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/ms17-010.aspx

General article on the WanaCry ransomware: http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/12/technology/ransomware-attack-nsa-microsoft/

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