Beware of Ransomware - Please Read! — Wycliffe IT Support

    Beware of Ransomware - Please Read!

    Please read the following email that was sent out recently with some great advice from our Network Manager Mr Mark Williams regarding 'Ransomware'.



    This e-mail is being sent to raise awareness of the threats from online sources. In recent weeks the school has been hit once and we’ve had a few close calls. The latest threats we are seeing are generally called “Ransomware”. They work by getting the user to click on a link or open an attachment which then begins to encrypt files, not only on the user’s computer, but also any files on mapped or shared drives that they have access to. In our case, this could the user’s home drive, Staff and Shared drives amongst others. A window will generally open informing you that your computer has been infected and displays some instructions on how to pay the “ransom”.  If you see such a message, please shutdown your computer immediately! Please contact IT support ASAP by phone should this occur. Under no circumstances allow the computer to be switched on again. If you have to leave the computer, perhaps leave a note on it warning people.

    This type of attack can be initiated by inadvertently doing one of the following:

    • Open a malicious attachment in an email.
    • Click on a malicious link in an email, instant message, social networking site or other website.
    • Visit a corrupt website - often these are of a dodgy nature but can be copies of perfectly legitimate websites.
    • Open infected files from web-based digital file delivery companies (for example Hightail - formerly called YouSendIt, and Dropbox).
    • Open corrupt macros in application documents (word processing, spreadsheets etc). If when opening a Word or Excel document, it asks if you want to enable Macros, please decline and contact IT Support.
    • Connect corrupt USB connected devices (eg memory sticks, external hard drives, MP3 players).

    To avoid the risk of ransomware:

    • Do not reply to, or click on links contained in, unsolicited or spam emails from companies or individuals you do not recognise.
    • Visit only websites you know to be reputable.
    • A simple check for links in e-mails is to hover your cursor over the URL and check what address it will link to in the bottom left corner of your e-mail window or the window that opens next to the link. Try it now. Hover your cursor over the following address. You will see that the address is different to what the link says it is. If you get an e-mail from Barclays Bank but the links point to some other website, it is definitely dodgy! Please delete it straight away.

    Please bear in mind that the e-mail may look very similar to an e-mail from the company it is trying to copy and many links on the e-mail will point to the correct address. It will always be the one link they want you to follow that will lead to the dodgy site! It may be parcel tracking, Apple stating you have bought some music online, a bank saying you have had a problem with your account, etc. Please exercise caution always and if you are not expecting the e-mail, question it before clicking on any links or opening any attachments.

    Mark Williams

    ICT Network Manager