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A Cybersecurity Success Story

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A ransomware attack nicknamed “WannaCry” has dominated the headlines for the past several days as it infected hundreds of thousands of computers across the globe. At the same time, we were receiving thousands of ransomware-laced emails from another campaign nicknamed “Jaff,” and yet the university has been unaffected to date.

Stanford’s first and most important cybersecurity standard is to keep systems fully up-to-date with the latest software patches. University IT routinely patches 70,000 systems throughout campus, a service that has prevented countless cyber incidents over the past 13 years. This fundamental practice, along with the university’s email security solution, network firewalls, and a heightened awareness of phishing among community members, protected us from these two large scale ransomware campaigns.

“The potential for financial gain incentivizes the vast majority of cyber attacks, so it’s safe to say that ransomware is here to stay,” said Michael Duff, Stanford’s Chief Information Security Officer.

Actions you can take

While awareness, fortified systems, and best practices provide strong protection, the university is far from immune to cyber attacks. The best preparation for ransomware and other malware infections is to routinely back up your data. If impacted, you can safely restore your files without paying the ransom. To make this easy for you, University IT provides file backup services that automatically and securely back up your files.

For any suspicious email messages that evade the university’s security systems, users are encouraged to forward them to spam@stanford.edu, then delete.

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