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Computing and Information Services

CIS News

Ransomware: a brief summary and advice

You will have seen reports in the news that a number of large organisations across the globe are being targeted by ransomware. As this ransomware is evolving almost as quickly as patches are identified to stop it, we must all be on our guard.

As with other malicious software: don’t open attachments or links from people you don’t know, or where the item is out of context with the sender or unexpected (please check directly with the sender if you have even the slightest doubt). 

Ransomware is a type of malicious software hidden in an attachment or on an infected website which, once launched:

  • Locks and prevents access to your machine,
  • Fires up a request, often through a pop-up, demanding a cash payment to unlock the machine (in the region of a few hundred pounds),
  • Upon receipt of the payment access may or may not be restored.

The impacts of your machine being infected by ransomware are:

  • Loss of information/data with no guarantee that once the payment is made access will be restored, or your machine will be left completely free of malicious software.
  • Financial loss: there are reports of tactics involving blackmail threats to embarrass victims into paying without reporting it to their company IT function.
  • You can start a chain of events that could infect your colleagues’ machines too. This software is evolving fast and is being combined with software ‘worms’ which copy themselves to any machine they can reach: this could paralyse the entire IT network.

These attacks are increasing in frequency and evolving rapidly and we take steps to block files as they are identified. However as soon as we and the major security companies (e.g. Sophos, McAfee) identify and block one version, the criminals are rapidly revising and releasing updated versions which need to be identified and blocked all over again.

Reduce the impacts: save your data regularly

To reduce the impact of an infection, make sure you have recent backups of anything that is important to you (and update them regularly):

  • University work: save it to your J: and/or S: drives
  • Personal items: save it to a removable hard drive or an appropriate cloud storage service. Don’t leave removable hard drives permanently connected to your machine, as any infection will spread to any device connected to it.

(15 May 2017)

Road works on Elvet Hill Road and Millhill Lane 24/04/17 - 26/05/17

As part of the University's New World Programme the Network project, which is providing a new resilient network for the University, needs to dig trenches to house fibre optic cables will will cross Elvet Hill Road and Millhill Lane at various points. It will take place between Mondday 24th April and Friday 26th May and whilst the roads will remain open, traffic management services will be in place. Read on for full details of the specific locations affected.

The dates and specific locations are as follows: 

  1. 24/04/2017 – 28/04/2017: two crossings on Elvet Hill Road between the entrance to the car park and the junction with Millhill Lane
  2. 02/05/2017 – 05/05/2017: one crossing on Elvet Hill Road near the entrance to the IMEIS car park
  3. 08/05/2017 – 12/05/2017: one crossing on Millhill Lane near the junction with Elvet Hill Road
  4. 15/05/2017 – 19/05/2017: one crossing over the entrance road to the Oriental Museum rom Millhill Lane
  5. 22/05/2017 – 26/05/2017: one crossing over Millhill Lane near the junction with Windmill Hill (St. Aidan’s College)

The roads will not be fully closed during this work but traffic management will be put in place while the width of the roads are reduced. 

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this activity may cause and thank you for your patience whilst we carry out this important work to improve the University's IT services.

(21 Apr 2017)