The Information Security Office at the University of Central Florida issued a warning to students Saturday on the danger of recent ransomware attacks via email.

Due to the speed and scope of the Internet, the ransomware cyber threats have spread globally. Although they may range in threat and technique, it can be avoided simply by not downloading or opening strange links received by email or another medium.

Information Security Office:

You may already be aware of media reports on a massive ransomware attack rapidly spreading worldwide. We can all take basic steps to stay safe and mitigate against this type of an attack.

Ransomware is malicious software designed to encrypt data on a computer until a ransom is paid. The ransomware variant currently spreading –called WannaCry– has affected dozens of companies and thousands of computers worldwide.

Once a computer is infected, WannaCry scans through computer files and encrypts them. In the case of WannaCry, encrypts files and demands payment of hundreds of dollars worth of bitcoins in order to regain access.

Malicious programs, such as ransomware can infect computers through various methods. The most common method is through a link in an email or an attachment when it is clicked upon. Be vigilant of unsolicited emails with content tempting you to click on a link or open an attached file. What makes WannaCry noteworthy is that it is not just ransomware, it is also a computer worm and infects multiple computers through computer networks.

** Remain vigilant for unsolicited emails. Do no click on links in an email without verifying the sender and the destination the link will be taking you.
** Never open unsolicited email attachments. Even attachments from known entities can contain malware. Confirm with the sender if in doubt.
** Back up your data frequently and on secure servers provided by UCF.
** Be sure your system is running the latest operating system, and updated antimalware software at all times. Where appropriate, set your computer to automatically update operating system and antimalware software. WannaCry malware leverages a Windows vulnerability (MS17-010) published in March.

In the event you suspect your computer or files have been affected, take immediate action by shutting down your computer and seeking assistance from an IT professional. Please report security incidents to

Thank you,
Information Security Office