How to protect your computer from WannaCry ransomware

by Michelle Saport  |   

You've no doubt heard about the WannaCry ransomware spreading across the globe. There have been no attacks on UAA systems or computers, but due to the lingering risk, IT Services is taking precautionary steps.

The ransomware infects vulnerable computers running Windows operating systems and encrypts any files found on local and network attached drives. Ransomware victims are then charged a fee or "ransom" for the decryption key necessary to recover their encrypted files.

Almost all versions of the Windows operating system are vulnerable, including those not actively supported by Microsoft, such as Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft has issued patches for ALL Windows operating systems, including previously unsupported versions.

While UAA IT Services configures computer systems to receive updates automatically, we recommend checking your system to be sure it is up to date.

  1. To check for Windows updates, follow these steps: Open Windows Update by clicking the Start button. In the search box, type Update, and then, in the list of results, click Windows Update. In the left pane, click Check for updates, and then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your computer.
  2. Alternatively, install the Microsoft patches released to block the WannaCry ransomware. You can find instructions on this page in the Microsoft Knowledge Base. You can also directly download the patches for your operating system from the Microsoft Update Catalog.
  3. If you are using an unsupported version of Windows, like Windows XP, Windows 2008 or Server 2003, you can still get the patches for your unsupported operating system from the Update Catalog. We recommend updating to a supported version of Windows as soon as possible.
  4. Update your Antivirus software. Most Antivirus software vendors have now added detection capability to block the WannaCry ransomware. UAA offers Symantec Endpoint Protection free to all employees, faculty and students. Symantec Endpoint Protection is available for download here. Additionally, the free version of Malwarebytes (software to remove unwanted malware from computer systems) is also available here.
  5. Back up your computer regularly, making sure you have viable offline backups. Saving all important files to your network "P" Drive is the best way to back up your files. If your computer is infected with ransomware IT Services may be able to restore your files from "P" Drive backups.

Additional guidance on safe computing at UAA is available at the IT Services Knowledgebase, Security Tips article.

If you need additional assistance, please contact the IT Services Center.

Creative Commons License "How to protect your computer from WannaCry ransomware" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
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