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How Do I Protect My Computer from Ransomware

If you receive a ransomware pop-up or message on your device alerting you to an infection:

Take immediate action to avoid any additional infections or data loss:

  1. Disconnect from the internet (disable Wi-Fi and unplug any wired internet connection)
  2. Disconnect any external drives.
  3. Report the incident to the IT Service Desk (415-514-4100).
  4. Follow the reporting instructions at How to Report a Security Incident.

To Minimize the Risk of Ransomware

Exercise caution

Don’t click on links inside emails, and avoid suspicious websites. Most ransomware attacks begin with some sort of phishing message. Pay attention to emails you get and be on the lookout for phishing attempts.

Use the UCSF Phish Alarm tool to report phishing messages. Be on the lookout for warning banners in your email to denote risky or external senders.

Always use anti-virus software and a firewall

It's important to (1) obtain and use anti-virus software and firewalls from reputable companies and (2) continually maintain your anti-virus software and firewalls through automatic updates.

UCSF IT provides client security software (anti-virus and firewall in one) free of charge to UCSF faculty, staff, students and researchers:

Maintain current patch levels

Do this for all your operating systems and applications.

Enable pop-up blockers 

Pop-ups are regularly used by criminals to spread malicious software. To avoid accidental clicks on or within pop-ups, it's best to prevent them from appearing in the first place.

Get help:

Always back up your computer content 

Ransomware scams will have limited impact on you if you back up, verify and maintain offline copies of your personal and application data.

If you are targeted, instead of worrying about paying a ransom to get your data back, you can simply have your system wiped clean and then reload your files.

A backup service (CrashPlan Pro) is offered at no additional charge to:

  • All ITFS-supported desktops and laptops, as part of ITFS Basic Support
  • UCSF Medical Center–supported laptops: Computer Backup (CrashPlan)


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