Webster University IT Alert: Ransomeware WannaCry[pt]

Webster University IT ALERT: Don't Fall for Ransomeware!

As communicated in an email from IT Support Monday, users should be aware of the "WannaCry[pt]” ransomware making news with attacks on Microsoft systems around the world. If you receive a pop-up message saying your files have been encrypted, and to restore them you would need to pay a ransom, DO NOT PAY the ransom. Immediately unplug your computer from the network cable and call the IT Service Desk; if you are connected to Webster’s network on a laptop via the wireless network and get this pop-up message, please immediately log off of the wireless network and call the IT Service Desk. 

What about my personal computer(s)?

How can you reduce the possibility of your personal computer(s) being infected by Ransomware and other malware and viruses?

At minimum, you should have a 3-pronged defense approach for your computer(s):

  • Anti-virus software – make sure this is active and up to date
  • Patching – ensure that your Windows computers have all the latest critical patches from Microsoft installed
  • Backups – make sure that you have backed up your critical files using and are performing test restorations of date regularly. 

The WannaCry[pt] Ransomware is spread through spear phishing – things to know so you won’t be lured in: 

91% of cyberattacks begin with a spear phishing email. 

  • PHISHING EMAILS: MOST infections come from users clicking on links in emails. Attackers are very sophisticated and know how to bypass standard SPAM filters. Here is how to identify a phishing email:
    • RECIPIENT ADDRESS: The recipient shows a reputable name like a banking institution or another corporate employee. If you hover over the recipients email address with your cursor you can verify if it is coming from their valid address. 
    • GRAMMATICAL ERRORS OR TONE: Is the tone of the content unprofessional or unusual? Are there odd grammatical mistakes.
    • LINKS: BE VERY WARY OF ANY LINK IN AN EMAIL. If you think the email is from a reputable source, first hover over the link with your cursor and verify that the full address is from a recognizable domain. Oftentimes these addresses are spoofed and either the domain name (typically the company name) or top level domain (.com, .org) is from a foreign country. 
  • WEB SITES: Many websites are now being corrupted through content on web pages or through banner ads. Do not click on pop-ups or suggested links in news articles or familiar sites that is not directly related to the reason you have visited the site. 

If you think you have clicked on a problematic link in an email or on a website, please immediately contact the IT Service Desk at 314-246-5995, or support@webster.edu.