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Watch out for fake emails

Watch out for emails that spread malicious software, known as ransomware. Especially now around Christmas when many people expect deliveries.

Watch out for email spreading ransomware, a type of malicious software that encrypts all your files and holds them for ransom. Ransomware is usually spread through email that appears to come from well-known businesses and organizations, such as Postnord, Telia, Spotify, or Skatteverket. The message encourages the recipient to click a link to retrieve a waybill, invoice, or similar. Sometimes the file is included as an attachment that you are encouraged to open.

In reality, malicious software is installed that encrypts all the files it can access. The files are only restored after a ransom is paid to the criminals who spread the ransomware.
Ransomware is constantly being spread, but you should be a extra cautious during certain times of year. For example, close to Christmas many people expect deliveries, and message claiming to be from Postnord is not unexpected. Similarly, during tax season many people will open a message from Skatteverket without hesitating.
There are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Question all email that asks you to follow a link or open a file. Is that how the apparent sender usually behaves?
  • Ask someone for advice if you are hesitant. You can always call LiU's helpdesk, but you can also ask a colleague or even call the apparent sender of the message.
  • Store all your files on LiU's file server. If files on the file server are encrypted, they can be restored from backups. At most you will lose about one day's worth of work.
  • Keep your computer updated. It is particularly important to keep your email program, web browser and all plugins updated.
  • If you accidentally follow a link or open a file and have your computer infected with ransomware, disconnect it from the network immediately, shut it down, and call the helpdesk for assistance.

If you have any questions concerning ransomware, don't hesitate to contact the helpdesk via email to helpdesk@liu.se or call 013-282828.


Elisabet Wahrby 2016-12-16

Page manager: elisabet.wahrby@liu.se
Last updated: 2016-12-16