Skip to main content Text-only Version

Big Danger of Phishing: Ransomware Attacks

GRAPHIC: Visual of a Ransomware payment being handed over electronically

Inside HigherEd reported this month that higher education is a big target for ransomware. Staff of the University of Florida and UF Health/Shands need to understand how ransomware works so they can guard against an attack. Many attacks begin as a phishing email. Once malware from a phish infects a device, it can take over specific files or an entire storage system, locking you from your data, and potentially losing your data altogether.

What is a Ransomware Attack?
The purpose of a ransomware attack is to prohibit a person or an organization from their computer files and data. Using encryption, cybercriminals lock access until the ransom is paid. After payment is received, the victim might get the encryption key and once again have access to their files and data.

A cybercriminal often uses a phishing email to initiate a ransomware attack. When you click on a phishing email attachment, you might be downloading malicious code that can infect your device. UF’s Information Security Office (ISO) has more information about ransomware on its website. And remember–if you receive an email in your UF Exchange in-box that you suspect is a phish, send it to the ISO via the phish alert button.