A new virus is being spread over email today that is affecting people worldwide.  It appears to target Windows users, encrypting the contents of their computer and demanding a ransom be paid to decrypt the files.  At the same time, the virus attempts to spread itself to other computers on the network using your contact list.

We currently have no reports of infected computers at UWO. Campus computers are setup to update their Windows and anti-virus software regularly, which is what protects you from attacks like these. IT also has other defenses to block the malicious source web sites.

Here is what you can do to protect your own personal computer:

  • Make sure your computers are patched.   Run Windows Update and apply any critical patches.
  • Ensure your anti-virus software is up-to-date.  Most AV software will block the virus before it has a chance to infect your computer.
  • Be leery of email attachments, especially ones that just say Read Me or Open This, even if they are from someone you know.  This virus is being spread through malicious PDF documents that are sent over email.
  • If you accidentally open the PDF, immediately unplug your computer from the network, power it down, and then contact your IT service provider.

Thank you for your support and diligence in preventing the spread of this ransomware!
Thank you,
Mark Clements