A new email phishing threat is circulating that could install ransomware on unpatched Windows systems.  Ransomware encrypts documents and files on your system and network file shares, rendering them unusable until a ransom is paid to the attacker.  Infected email attachments are delivering this malware, and once a victim’s system is compromised, the infection can spread rapidly to other workstations.  This new ransomware has already shut down hospitals in Europe (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/12/world/europe/uk-national-health-service-cyberattack.html?_r=0) but is being detected in other countries now also.

If you haven’t installed any Windows updates since March, your system could be vulnerable to this threat.

To keep yourself protected:

  • DO NOT open any attachments or click any links inside emails that you are not expecting, even if the email appears to come from someone you know.
  • If you get an email with an attachment from someone you know and believe it may be legitimate, follow up with that person over the phone or in person to verify the validity of the email – DO NOT email them to verify!
  • Install Windows updates as soon as they are issued from Microsoft.
  • Keep your Windows firewall on at all times, even when connected to work or other “trusted” networks.
  • Make sure your antivirus program is updating daily.

In most cases, suspicious emails can be safely ignored and deleted, but you can also flag them as spam inside Gmail.  If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of an email, you can call or email the Help Desk for additional guidance.