October 31, 2013

Employees alerted to computer virus

A new virus is hitting the Internet and is an issue on the SIU campus.  The virus is named Cryptolocker, and it encrypts the data on a computer’s hard drive and then gives the computer owner 72 hours to pay a $300 ransom.  This is a very serious threat and every campus employee needs to read and understand this email.

The Cryptolocker virus is usually spread by sending an email attachment.  The email attachment appears to be a .pdf file.  The computer owner clicks on the attachment and the computer is immediately infected/files are immediately encrypted.  There are numerous ways to prevent your computer from being infected.  The following are three key prevention techniques.

  • Treat all emails with attachments with suspicion until you are confident that the email and attachment are legitimate.  Cryptolocker reportedly disguises itself as being from UPS or FedEx.  If you haven’t ordered anything, DO NOT CLICK ON THE ATTACHMENT.  Another disguise is in the form of an email from a copier (a scanned image).  If you haven’t scanned any documents, DO NOT CLICK ON THE ATTACHMENT. 

If the email is from Bob in the mailroom and you don’t know why Bob would be sending you an email, you should call Bob to see if he sent you something.  If Bob confirms that he sent the e-mail, it should be safe.  If he doesn’t know what you’re talking about, DO NOT CLICK ON THE ATTACHMENT.

Any email with an attachment that comes to you unsolicited should be treated similarly; with suspicion and DO NOT CLICK.  These emails are disguised in this way in order to prey upon our curiosity.

  • ASK!  If you’re not sure, DON’T CLICK and ask for assistance.  The IT Information Security team will assist in determining if the e-mail and attachment are legitimate or not, just by sending an inquiry to scam@siu.edu.  You may also contact your local computer administrator for assistance.
  • Ensure that your computer has antivirus software installed and that all software is up to date.