Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Please take a moment to make sure that you are current on all Microsoft updates. This is a good and important practice for all of us to do all the time, as it helps to decrease our exposure to cybersecurity threats.
Over the weekend you may have heard that there has been a worldwide ransomware attack, in which hackers are targeting schools, among many other institutions, trying to hold computer users' accounts hostage, demanding ransom to be paid in order for users to get their files back.
The malware exploits a weakness in all versions of the Windows operating system. Microsoft issued a patch for this in March 2017 for all versions of Windows that it still supports. This means that Windows computers operating with at least version 7 and Windows Server 2008 or later are configured to automatically apply security updates for Windows, and so they should be protected from this attack. A patch for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 is also now available. If you have a Windows computer that might not be configured to update automatically, please click here for more information on how to remedy that, or contact the Support Desk for assistance at 312-567-3375, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the second floor of the Galvin Library.
If you have been a victim of a ransomware or other attack, the Office of Technology Services requests that you please contact the Support Desk immediately to see what can be done.
Please understand that paying the ransom does not guarantee you will get your files back.
To take precautions, please do not click on any links you don't know and regularly back-up your computers to your hard drives or to the cloud.
If you have any questions, please contact the Support Desk for assistance.
Thank you for your attention.
With the current, ongoing, ransomware attack, here are some steps you can take to help protect your systems if you have a Windows computer that is not configured to perform automatic updates.
If you have a Windows computer that might not be configured to update automatically, please press your Windows key and type "check for updates" which will open "Update and Security" on some versions of Windows. Ensure that the updates are configured to happen automatically, and select “check for updates” to secure it immediately. More detailed instructions are also provided below.
Detailed instructions for securing Windows computers:
I. Windows 10
- Tap or click on the Start menu, then click Settings.
- Once in Settings, click on Update & Security, and then Windows Update on the left.
- Check for new Windows 10 updates by tapping or clicking on the Check for Updates button.
- In Windows 10, downloading and installing updates is automatic and will happen immediately after checking if there are updates, or, with some updates, the update will occur at a time when you're not using your computer.
II. Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
- Open the Control Panel.
- If using the Small Icons' view, click on the Windows Update option. If using the Category view, click on the System and Security option, then click on the Windows Update option.
- Windows Update will check for any available updates for your computer. If any updates are found, you should be able to view the available updates. It is highly recommended that you first install all important updates and service packs that are available. In some cases, you may only be able to do a few important updates or service pack updates each time, if some updates are dependent on other updates being installed first.
III. Windows XP and earlier
- Visit http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. For this page to work, you must view it in Internet Explorer.
- On the Microsoft Windows Update page, select the option, Scan for Updates. If prompted to install a plug-in, click Yes. Not installing this plug-in will prevent you from scanning for updates.
- After Windows Update has completed scanning, you should be able to view the available updates for your computer. It is highly recommended that you first install all critical updates and service packs that are available. In some cases, you may only be able to do a few critical updates or service pack updates each time.
- Although Microsoft does provide some driver updates for hardware devices, it is important to realize that they will not have all the latest drivers. You may want to consider updating the drivers directly from your computer manufacturer. See the computer drivers page for a listing of computer hardware manufacturers and a link to their drivers page.
- Note: Whenever you are prompted to reboot the computer, reboot the computer. Rebooting is an important step and in some cases may be required several times before you have installed all the Windows updates available. After the computer has rebooted, make sure to visit the Windows update page again to make sure all the files you need are downloaded.