Ransomware is popular among cybercriminals. They encrypt your device and files, and only allow you access upon payment of a ransom. Watch out for ransomware, at home and at work.
Make sure you make backups
How to avoid losing files? Make sure you have backups (and store them somewhere safe). This is always a sensible step to take. If you are affected by cryptoware, in particular, backups are often the only way to recover your files. The ITS Department makes daily backups of the O: and U: drives and of university systems such as SAP, Blackboard, email and Osiris. Ask your faculty's IT contact person whether and how the faculty systems are being backed up. Back up other data yourself.
You can do a lot yourself to avoid ransomware affecting you or those around you. The following are the most important guidelines to follow.
- Be wary of suspicious emails. For instance, if you don't know the sender or don't expect an email from them. If you receive a fraudulent email, NEVER CLICK the attachment or ANY LINKS in the text. Recognise the signs.
- Use a good virus scanner. Configure it to update its virus definitions at least once a day.
- Use a firewall on your computer.
- Keep the operating system (Windows, OS X, etc.) up to date. This also applies to other software such as browsers, Adobe Reader and browser plug-ins (including Adobe Flash and Java).
- Programs such as Java and Adobe Flash are less safe. Try not to use them. You can get information about this at the UU's IT information desks.
- Be wary of suspicious emails.
- Cryptoware is usually an executable (.exe) file hidden in a different file type, such as an image (.jpeg, .jpg, etc.) or a text file (.doc, .docx, .pdf, etc.).
- If you unexpectedly get the message 'Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer', choose No.
- For your daily tasks, use a normal user account rather than an account with administrator rights.
- If you are logged in as an administrator, you have all the rights to make changes to the system and ransomware exploits this by using the rights with which you are logged in. It is therefore safer to carry out your day-to-day tasks logged in to a normal user account.
- With Mac OS (Apple) and Linux you run less of a risk. However, these systems can also be infected.
- Be wary of suspicious emails. (It can't be said often enough!)
- Do not open attachments in emails from unknown senders or senders you are not expecting emails from.
These measures will help prevent you from being hacked. No guarantees can be given, but they can certainly limit the headaches and damage.