University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Protect Yourself Against Ransomware

Ransomware has been in the news quite a bit recently. You may have heard stories of attacks on large companies, organizations or government agencies, or perhaps you as an individual have experienced a ransomware attack on your own device. It’s a significant problem and a scary prospect to have all of your files and data held hostage until you pay up. 

UW–Madison is not immune from these types of cybersecurity attacks. Malicious actors continue to adjust and evolve their ransomware tactics over time, and Office of Cybersecurity analysts remain vigilant in maintaining awareness of ransomware attacks and associated tactics, techniques, and procedures across campus. 

However, we can’t do it alone. As faculty, staff, students or visitors to campus, you also have a critical responsibility to protect against these threats. There are immediate steps you can take to protect yourself and the broader campus.

  • Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible. Multi-factor authentication (MFA-Duo)  is already enforced for your NetID, but NetID may not be your only account at UW–Madison.
  • Update and patch systems promptly. This includes UW systems, but also personal devices that connect to the campus network, whether you are on-premise or connected via VPN (virtual private network).
  • Ensure your devices are running antivirus and anti-malware software. Check that Cisco AMP is running on your UW provided computer or systems, or check out the variety of options campus offers for your personal devices.
  • Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline. Having quality backups often prove to be the most effective mechanism to recover from a ransomware attack.
  • If you suspect ransomware has compromised a system, contact the Office of Cybersecurity immediately.

Find additional resources on ransomware here: Protect Against The Threat of Ransomware

—Peter Vander Velden, Cybersecurity Engineer & Risk Analyst, Office of Cybersecurity