IT Services Alerts - Updated: Ransomware: what you need to know, June 27th

Updated: Thursday, July 27th (First Posted: Tuesday, June 27th)

Ransomware: what you need to know.

As computer users, we all need to be aware of ransomware infections as they are on the increase. Examples of this include the Ransomware attack WannaCry which began in May and has affected a great many people across the world and the Petya attack in June.

Ransomware is malicious software which when installed on your PC, will lock your PC so you cannot access your programs and files and can also encrypt your files. The software will then demand a ‘ransom’ or payment from you to get access to your programs or files again. 

How does the malicious software get onto your PC? 

Generally, it will be through an email which will ask you to open an attached MS Word or Excel file, PDF document or picture file which is infected; or will provide a link to a website from which it downloads onto your computer. However, it could come from sites you browse, particularly sites involving free downloads of movies/music/games, where the virus is attached to the downloaded file.

How can I protect my PC and my data?

1. Exercise caution when browsing the Internet and opening emails, do not click on any unexpected pop-up windows or links as these can introduce the infection to your computer. Users should be particularly cautious if they receive any unexpected emails with Microsoft Office file attachments. Be mindful if you are downloading free software or other content from the internet as such files may contain hidden or "trojan" viruses which could infect your computer.

2. Make sure that you update the Microsoft software on your PC. If you have a Windows PC on the staff network updates will be pushed by IT Services which will help to ensure your PC is not as susceptible to new ransomware and virus threats.  If you are unsure whether your PC has the most current updates, you can verify by manually running Windows Update service. More information on security updates can be found at https://www.tcd.ie/itservices/security/software-updates.php

3. Ensure that you are running anti-virus software and that it is up to date. More information on anti-virus for staff and supported antivirus solutions for students can be found at our antivirus page https://www.tcd.ie/itservices/security/anti-virus-info.php

4. Ensure you have a recent backup of your important College files. It is always prudent to back up your files, either to a trusted backup drive or using OneDrive for staff / MyZone Drive for students.

More information on our Tips and Good Practice page https://www.tcd.ie/itservices/security/tips-good-practice.php

Note: If there are any computers in your area which are shared by students for lab work or by guests you should remember to check that they are protected as above also.

What should I do if I think that my computer is infected?

If you think that your computer has become infected you should immediately disconnect if from the Trinity network, then turn it off and contact IT Service Desk. https://www.tcd.ie/itservices/help/it-service-desk-contact.php