Update: Ransomware Threats to UC Berkeley Research

July 14, 2021

Dear Colleagues, 

UC Berkeley remains an active target for ransomware attacks, especially due to our highly visible research activities. Everyday our systems detect dozens of attempted ransomware attacks directed at campus. Your devices and personnel are especially at risk from cyber-criminals looking to profit through ransomware. We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of this threat, encourage you to review our ransomware resources, and to take advantage of our support and services. 

Ransomware Resources & Preventive Measures 

  1. Backup Your DataOnce a ransomware infection occurs, it may be too late to recover the encrypted information. Regular backups can help protect you. Learn about backing up your data.

  2. Do “the Minimum” Our Minimum Security Standards for Networked Devices “How-To” provides detailed instructions on how to keep your devices up-to-date, enable anti-malware and firewall software, remote access protocols, and more. 

  3. Think Before You ClickRansomware typically appears in phishing emails either through links to malicious websites or via infected attachments. If you get a suspicious email, forward it to phishing@berkeley.edu.

  4. Know How to Respond/ReportKnow what to do if you believe your system has been infected with ransomware: Disconnect From Networks, Disconnect External Devices, and Report the Incident.

Research Support & Services

You have several options for consultation about technology and security for your research needs:

  • Research Data Portal points researchers, research staff, and support personnel to the campus offices and resources that can help.

  • Research IT (RIT) provides research computing technologies, consulting and community.

  • Information Security Office is available to answer your questions on topics related to securing your research data.  

Sadly, ransomware is no longer a rare event that happens somewhere else, but is the largest singular cyberthreat to our academic and research mission. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Jenn Stringer, 
Associate Vice Chancellor for IT and Chief Information Officer

Allison Henry
Chief Information Security Officer 

Randy H. Katz
Vice Chancellor for Research

This message has been sent to all faculty, Graduate Student Researchers, and Postdocs. Please share this information with those who conduct research at UC Berkeley.


Related: UCSF Pays $1.4M in Attack | Video: Cybersecurity for Research: Why You Should Care and What You Can Do