Do you know what it is?

Ransomware, which holds your files for 'ransom', is a very real threat. When a computer becomes infected/compromised with ransomware, it begins to encrypt the files so no one can access them without paying a fee. Once the files have been encrypted, ransomware then displays a message about how you, supposedly, can gain access to your files by paying a ransom. There is no guarantee paying the ransom will allow you to regain access to those files.

How can I prevent ransomware's effectiveness?

If your department has any servers, you should scan them regularly. Learn about how to perform scans for your servers. Be sure to resolve any issues the scanner identifies. The vulnerability scanner offers advice on how to fix known issues, so you aren't left in the dark. Don't forget to scan your websites. The vulnerability scanner can help protect those web applications, as well.

Backups are critical

Good backups are critical. If, for whatever reason, your system becomes infected, the best course of action is to restore a fresh copy of the files from your backup. Don't forget you should regularly test your backup process to ensure it is working and that you can restore those files when needed.

Apply updates to applications and operating systems

Be sure your systems are fully patched. Often, we make sure the operating system is patched, but we neglect applications. Yes, it is possible for someone to compromise a computer through a vulnerable application. It is crucial that you keep applications updated. Adobe Flash and Oracle Java are some of the known applications that often have exploits that are unknown to the vendor (also known as zero day vulnerabilities).

Avoid phishing scams

Last, but not least, watch out for those phishing scams. According to CSO Online, 93% of phishing emails are now ransomware. Phishing scams are fraudulent messages that appear to come from legitimate people or institutions. IU has a website to help you understand the risks and how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of phishing.