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Suspected ransomware attack hits UNM law school

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Officials at the University of New Mexico School of Law believe they have been attacked by ransomware, a malicious software that is preventing students, faculty and staff from accessing emails and shared files at the school.

It appears that the attack is only disrupting computer systems at the law school, and not other parts of campus, according to a letter from Dean Sergio Pareja that was sent to students Thursday evening and posted to UNM’s website.

He said there are indicators that the attack is ransomware, but no demands have been made of the law school.

The FBI says ransomware is a software that disrupts computer systems and stops those affected by it from accessing computer files, systems and networks. The attacks are typically followed by a demand that the victim pay a ransom in order to regain access to their computer system, according to the agency’s website.

The FBI doesn’t support paying the ransom and says that it doesn’t guarantee the system will be released.

Pareja’s letter said some sort of illegal intrusion into the law school’s computer systems happened Monday. School faculty and staff met Thursday to discuss the incident.

He said that the law school’s information technology team disconnected some computer systems and is encouraging its faculty, staff and students to use their UNM email addresses instead of law school-specific email accounts.

“We are working closely with UNM IT support to restore information that has been encrypted, and will provide additional detailed information and resources on the School of Law web page to help faculty, staff and students prepare for the fall 2020 semester,” he said.

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