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Wannacry

The Hangarau team are working hard to ensure the WannaCry virus that wreaked havoc through computer networks around the world doesn’t do the same within Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

WannaCry is ransomware in which an infected computer’s files are frozen through encryption and can only be released through the target paying USD $300 within three days before the amount is doubled.

If payment is not made within seven days it claims the encrypted files will be deleted.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa senior systems engineer Jan Botha said no computers within the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa netwok have been affected by the WannaCry virus.

Hangarau have updated our network’s perimeter firewall and all downloads are scanned.

Additional Trend antivirus software has also been installed and new mail policies scan email attachments and file extensions as they come into Office 365.

Jan says out-of-date operating systems were compromised by WannaCry including computers within the NHS in the UK which were running Windows XP and didn’t have the software patch for the ransomware.

“We are fortunate in our environment we’ve been keeping up to date with our patching and operating systems.”

“We are also adding another layer of protection through Trend Deep Security in our server environment.”

He warned against complacency and said a number of kaimahi and tauira may be putting themselves and the network at risk if they haven’t connected for some time to the network.

“We do have staff and students that might not connect to the network often and their client (antivirus software) could potentially be out-of-date so we would certainly want people to be vigilant and ensure that they have antivirus software on there.”

“If people are unsure whether they have Trend AV on their pc/mac they should get in touch with Hangarau.”

Jan said Macbooks were not affected – at the moment – by WannaCry, which targets a vulnerability in the Windows operating system, but Macbook users shouldn’t think they’re not susceptible to ransomware.

The guidelines and advice that Hangarau sent out last week remain the same.

- Think Before You Click. Avoid websites that provide pirated material. Do not open an email attachment from somebody or a company that you do not know. Do not click on a link in an unsolicited email. Always hover over a link (especially one with a URL shortener) before you click to see where the link is really taking you. If you have to download a file from the Internet, an email, an FTP site, a file-sharing service, etc., scan it before you run it. SURF smart.

Don’t Use Open Wi-Fi. When you are at the local coffee shop, library, and especially the airport, don’t use the “free” open (non-password, non-encrypted) Wi-Fi. Think about it. If you can access it with no issues, what can a trained malicious individual do?

Use Multiple Strong Passwords. Never use the same password, especially on your bank account. Typically, we use the same email address or username for all of our accounts. Those are easy to see and steal. If you use the same password for everything, or on many things, and it is discovered, then it takes only seconds to hack your account. Use a strong password. Use lower case, upper case, numbers, and symbols in your password. Keep it easy to remember but difficult to guess. Do not use dates or pet names.

Please bear in mind that computer viruses and computer hoaxes often rely upon email to wreak havoc. Please do not be a part of this havoc by overusing the email system to notify other users.

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Published On: 24 May, 2017

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