“Wanna Cry” Ransomware Warning

A dangerous form of malware is circulating across the globe in the form of a PDF email attachment. Users who open the attachment are exposed to the “Wanna Cry” ransomware, which encrypts all the files on the target computer. Wanna Cry ransomware has been targeting hospitals and telecommunications companies; however, many people are potentially vulnerable.

We strongly encourage you to run a full scan of your computer with antivirus software at this time. If you do not have antivirus software, please download it from the ITS website as soon as possible (see below for more information).

Please exercise extreme caution in opening email attachments, especially from senders whom you do not recognize. If a message or attachment seem suspicious, delete the message. You may also forward the message to the ITS security group at security@usc.edu. Users with an @med.usc.edu email address may also press the Report Phish button in Outlook. If an email seems potentially legitimate, we recommend downloading the attachment and scanning it with antivirus software before opening it.

Downloading and Using Sophos Antivirus Software

Sophos Endpoint Security is available for free to all USC students, faculty, and staff. To help protect your devices from this and other threats, ITS recommends that you install Sophos or other antivirus software on all of your devices, if you have not already done so, and immediately run a scan for malware.

To download the Sophos software for your Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, go to software.usc.edu/antivirus. Information on how to install Sophos Antivirus can be found at itservices.usc.edu/security/sophos.

To scan your computer for malware once Sophos is installed, open Sophos and choose Scan Now or Scan This Computer. To scan an individual file for malware once Sophos is installed, right-click the file and choose Scan with Sophos Anti-Virus from the dropdown menu.

Additional Security Tips

Please be mindful of the following security tips:

  • Be cautious when clicking on links or opening attachments in emails. Hackers may try to infect your computer by sending you a phish email with a compromised attachment or a link to a webpage specially crafted to download malware onto your machine. Learn how to recognize suspicious emails on the ITS Security Blog at it-security.usc.edu/2013/03/29/before-you-click-that-link.
  • Keep your software up to date. Download updates for your operating system, browser, and applications as soon as they are available.
  • Enable two-factor authentication where possible. Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security in addition to your password.