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Information Security

Ransomware

What is ransomware?

A new security threat has been infecting computers, on and off campus, called Ransomware.

Ransomware comprises a class of malware which restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed. Some forms of ransomware encrypt files on the system's hard drive (cryptoviral extortion) while some may simply lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying.

Incidents of ransomware have grown globally, with reports across the CSU and on our campus. Most malware is removed by security tools before it can infect our campus, however the open nature of our academic environment makes it impossible to protect against all possible vulnerabilities.

Ransomware is typically installed when users open a malicious email attachment, a malicious link in an email attachment or instant message, or unknowingly open malicious links on social networking sites or other websites.

What To Do if You Get Infected with Ransomware

  • Do NOT pay the “ransom” or attempt to contact the ransomware creator.
  • Immediately disconnect your computer from the wired or wireless network, to help avoid your computer from infecting others on the network.
  • Contact ITSS for assistance.

 If it is your personally owned computer that is locked by ransomware, you may need to seek the assistance of a professional computer technician to wipe/reformat your computer, in which case you may lose your personal files and data.

Tips To protect You Against Ransomware and Other Malware:

  • Keep all of the software on your computer up to date.
  • Don’t open spam email messages or click links on suspicious websites. 
  • For personally owned computers, make frequent backups of your important files. 
  • Feel free to contact itss@csuchico.edu for any additional questions or isec@csuchico.edu  for help regarding IT security on campus.