Over the past few days, a new piece of malicious software called “WannaCry” has been infecting computers around the world. WannaCry is what is known as “ransomware” and it encrypts all of the files on your computer and holds them hostage unless you pay a ransom demand.

The Division of IT security team has not yet detected cases of WannaCry on campus. If you believe your computer has been infected by this ransomware attack, please contact the IT Service Center at itsc@umd.edu, call 301.405.1500, or stop by Terrapin Tech in 1221 McKeldin Library.

There are 3 essential  steps to protect yourself from these types of attacks:


  1. Upgrade your operating system and enable automatic updates.
  2. Keep a backup of all of your important files. We recommend copying your most important data onto an external hard drive or USB flash drive that you keep locked up. We also recommend using cloud storage providers like UMD Box or Google Drive. To prevent the spread of malicious files such as ransomware, do not to use the file sync options offered by those systems. If you do enable file sync, both UMD Box and Google Drive offer file recovery options should your files be encrypted with ransomware.
  3. Check before you click on links or open file attachments. Don’t open up attachments from people you do not know. If you are not expecting an email with a file attachment from someone you do know and they send such an email, contact them by phone or social media to confirm they did intend to send you that message.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the IT Service Center by emailing itsc@umd.edu, calling 301.405.1500, or visiting Terrapin Tech in 1221 McKeldin Library.