Over the weekend a wave of cyber-attacks spread rapidly around the world, this is a critical threat to the University given its ability to rapidly spread and cause damage. The threat is a form of ransomware known as "WannaCrypt" or “WannaCry”.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software that can infect your computer and prevent you from accessing your data by encrypting all of your files and documents. A message is displayed demanding a ransom be paid to allow your data to be unencrypted and made available. If you do not pay the ransom your data will be deleted.
"WannaCrypt" is a severe threat given its ability to spread quickly from computer to computer by itself. This means that once one account is infected it can move quickly through an entire network.
What is UWA doing to mitigate the threat?
We are currently deploying security updates to our servers and desktops to patch vulnerabilities and prevent infections.
What do I need to know?
Ransomware and malicious code is typically spread via malicious links and attachments and emails. You can prevent your data from being compromised by remaining vigilant and taking the following precautionary measures:
- Never click on links in emails or messages, or open attachments, from people or organisations you don’t know.
- Be especially cautious if messages are very enticing or appealing (they seem too good to be true), or threaten you to make you take a suggested action.
- Before you click a link in an email or on social media or webpages, hover your mouse over that link to see the actual web address it will take you to (usually shown at the bottom of the browser window). If you do not recognize or trust the address, try searching for relevant key terms in a web browser. This way you can find the article, video, or webpage without directly clicking on the suspicious link.
- Restart any computers that have not been restarted in the past week.
- Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.
- Report any suspicious emails or concerns to your IT Service Desk on extension 1515 as soon as possible.
For more information please contact the IT Service Desk on extension 1515.
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