Alert Information

 Yellow:  Network Security Threat

"Ransomware" on Campus - Significant Threat to the UTMB Network and Electronically Stored Information

Monday, Apr 7, 2014 • 9:23 AM rvshaffe

The Office of Information Security has been made aware of incidents around campus where files on computers and shared drives, i.e. “H” and “S” drives have become unreadable or inaccessible.

Malicious software (malware) is being distributed using compromised websites or as email attachments and is being downloaded and installed on UTMB computers by unsuspecting personnel. Once installed, this malware, commonly referred to as “ransomware” encrypts files and folders or blocks access to the system while leaving a “ransom” message that demands a fee in order to decrypt the files or restore the system. This notification appears after a restart of the computer system. Essentially, the attacker attempts to hold your computer hostage while trying to extort money from you in exchange for letting you access your computer – however – it’s important to understand you won’t regain access to your system even if you pay the “ransom” money. It’s a scam.

Faculty, students and staff are reminded to be vigilant when browsing websites, downloading files, or executing attachments in email, either through the UTMB mail system or more importantly, personal email services that are accessed from university computers, such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, etc..

Stay on mainstream websites and only open email attachments that are from known senders with subject line and content relevant to UTMB. Never open or execute email attachments that have an extension of .exe, .scr or .zip. Additionally, if anyone ever asks you for your UTMB computer account password, whether in person, over the phone or through email, you must refuse to give it to them.

If you accidently fall victim to any of this type of criminal activity, contact the Office of information Security X23838 immediately. Send all suspicious email to cirt@utmb.edu for review.

Emergency Communications

Disaster/Weather Emergencies

In the event of a disaster or emergency weather conditions, please refer to the following lines of communication for more information:

  • Call the UTMB hotline at (409) 77-ALERT (772-5378) or toll free at (888) 772-5449; or
  • Call the UTMB main operator at (409) 772-1011.
  • Information is also available via the web at www.utmb.edu/alert. Should the UTMB web server go down, a second server is in place as a backup and will be available via UTMB's normal URL: www.utmb.edu.  Additionally, an informational site will be activated at www.utmbinfo.com.
  • See www.utmb.edu/emergency_plan for UTMB Health Emergency Operations Plans.
  • Monitor local television and radio stations including KPRC/950 AM, KTRH/740 AM and KIKK/96 FM in Houston.

Information Technology Emergencies

In the event that there is a disruption of network or applications services, you can check the status of any given system by viewing the Daily Operations Status

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