Ransomware attack - Important information for UQ students and staff

15 May 2017

The WannaCrypt or WannaCry ransomware cyber-attack has hit over 150 countries across the globe and has received widespread media coverage.

The ransomware attack has spread quickly around the world as a ‘computer worm’ that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers and networks and uses weaknesses in versions of Microsoft Windows to lock files and demand ransoms to release them.

How should I protect myself?

To ensure that you are protected, please ensure that you have applied all Microsoft Windows updates and rebooted your computer. You should also be cautious opening attachments in emails from unknown senders, and never enable macros unless you are certain the document is trustworthy.

(See below for operating system specific instructions)

What should I do if I think I’ve been infected?

Common indicators that your computer may have become infected include:

  • The presence of “ransom notes” on your hard drive
  • Files have been renamed with different extensions such as “.wnry", ".wcry", ".wncry" and ".wncrypt"
  • Unable to open files because they are corrupted
  • Your computer is uncharacteristically slow and unresponsive

If you believe your computer may have been infected, please follow these steps:

1.       Disconnect your computer from the network

2.       Turn off Wi-Fi

3.       Turn the computer off

4.       Contact the ITS Service Desk if you have an ITS managed computer (see below for details)

What has Information Technology Services done to keep you safe?

ITS has been applying emergency patches to Microsoft Windows systems that may be vulnerable. The Security Operations Centre is continuing to apply patches and monitor systems for vulnerabilities and signs of infection.

ITS Service Desk Contact Details:

Phone: +61 7 336 56000 or 1300 738 082 (Australia-wide) Mon - Fri 8:00am - 6:00pm, Sat 8:00am - 12:00pm
Online: http://www.its.uq.edu.au

Email: help@its.uq.edu.au for technical enquiries


Instructions for updating your operating system

Windows XP and Windows Vista

Even though Windows XP and Windows Vista are no longer supported, Microsoft has released a patch. It must be downloaded and manually installed. Information regarding the update can be found here:


Windows 7

  • Click on the start menu, type “Windows update” into the search and hit enter to open Windows Update.
  • Click on the “check for updates” button
  • Install all updates found.

Windows 8

  • Bring up the menu (hover over the bottom right corner of the screen, or swipe from the right side of the screen to the left) and open up Settings.
  • Select “Change PC Settings”
  • Select “Windows Update” from the side bar
  • Click on “Check for Updates”
  • Install all updates found

Windows 10

  • Click on the start button and type “check for updates”.
  • This will bring up the systems settings window. Click the “check for updates” button
  • install all updates found

The download page for the updates can be found here: