Email users at California State University, Fresno, are being warned that the university is receiving “ransomware” emails that can cause computers and other electronic devices to lock up until the sender receives a payment.
In an email sent Wednesday, users were told not to open emails from senders not known to them and to delete such emails immediately.
If ransomware is opened, it can encrypt all the files on a computer until the payment is received.
The email reported that it is possible that the email may appear to come from a person or company known by the receiver and users are cautioned to contact the person or company to verify the sender. Some viral emails are sent under the pretense that they originated with FedEx, UPS, Amazon.com or other well-known organizations, including the Internal Revenue Service.
“Ransomware” originated in Russia in the early 2000s, according to a website operated by Trend Micro USA. It soon found its way into Europe and is hitting the United States with increasing frequency.
Several weeks ago, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles was attacked by ransomware and reportedly paid $17,000 to get access to its files, according to the BBC.
The university advised anyone who inadvertently opened an attachment and cannot access their files to immediately turn off the computer and contact the university’s help desk at 559-278-5000.
Jim Guy: 559-441-6339