A new ransomware cyberattack called “Petya” is spreading globally and infecting computers, allowing malicious attackers to demand ransom payments to restore data.

The attack is similar to the WannaCry ransomware attack that spread a few weeks ago. Experts believe the initial infection comes from an email attachment, possibly a Microsoft Word attachment.

Some tips to avoid falling for Petya (also called Petwrap):

  • Patch your Windows-based computers and update your Microsoft Office suite. Contact AskIT if you have any questions.
  • Be extremely vigilant when opening email from anyone with whom you are not familiar.
  • If you receive email from an unknown sender, be cautious about replying, opening an attachments or clicking on links or graphics in the email.
  • If you believe you have received a suspicious email, click the “PhishMe Reporter” button in your Outlook or forward the email to phishing@uab.edu.
  • Be cautious about attachments you were not expecting. Even if you receive an email from someone you know, that person’s email may have been infected with ransomware. Contact the sender by phone to make sure the attachment is legitimate.
  • Be wary of emails with incorrect grammar or spelling, or messages in which the signature does not match the sender’s name.
  • Do not click links in messages that ask you to log in. Type a trusted web address in your browser, or Google for the web site if you don’t know the address.
For the past year, UAB IT’s Alexandra Fedorova has been spending several days a week helping to teach a new generation of potential IT employees through the TEALS program, which places tech experts in high school classrooms to give students basic computer science skills. 

“The students are all eager,” Fedorova says. “They want to learn, but most local school just don’t have the resources or experience to teach them.”

TEALS, a national program funded by Microsoft, is in its second year in Birmingham and has partnerships with nine schools, said Tracey Wilson, regional coordinator for the organization. 

TEALS provides volunteer instructors with lesson plans and assignments. Volunteers should expect to spend about an hour to two hours in the classroom twice a week, with some extra time for grading assignments or making modifications to lesson plans. The goal is not only to reach students but to teach high school teachers how to instruct students in computer science skills.

Anyone interested in volunteering for TEALS can visit the web site at tealsk12.org.
Scammers looking to steal electronics are using a new scheme targeting university stores across the country, FBI officials said.

Law enforcement agencies are warning higher education institutions about potential credit card scams involving electronic purchases.

The FBI said the scams, which began this spring, target campus bookstores and students with valid campus identification. Scammers use students to help purchase high-end electronics, particularly Apple products, using students’ valid campus IDs and a stolen or cloned credit card.

Here’s how the scam works:

  • Perpetrators coerce unwitting students into helping them purchase electronics by claiming to be current students who have lost their student IDs.
  • The unwitting students are shown a cloned credit card and identification matching the name on the cloned credit card.
  • Perpetrators accompany students to the campus store cash register and swipes the cloned credit card, while the legitimate student shows the clerk valid campus ID.
FBI officials said that in some cases, perpetrators swiped several declined cards before one was accepted.

To protect yourself from the scam, law enforcement officials recommend you:

  • Do not facilitate a purchase from someone who does not provide valid student ID — especially someone you don’t know.
  • Establish procedures at campus stores that include provisions against allowing someone to use a credit card in someone else’s name.
If you have been a victim of the scam, contact UAB Police.
TechConnect's Laptop Program has a number of new options for students — and through the summer, those computers qualify for a $150 rebate for students through Dell.

The laptop program is convenient for students because they can get service and support right on campus at TechConnect, UAB IT's technology store at the Hill Student Center. Purchases made through the Laptop Program include:
  • Educational pricing
  • 3-year premium warranty and accidental damage protection
  • Pre-loaded with UAB software
  • Loaner laptop while yours is being repaired
  • On-campus service and support
TechConnect's experts have developed recommendations for the best options for students through the Laptop Program. Visit the store on the first floor of the Hill Center or visit the web site at uab.edu/TechConnect.
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