Tips on preventing CryptoWall malware from infecting your computer

MSU Information Security is warning computer users about a damaging new form of malware called CryptoWall, which has hit MSU’s campus.

A student works on a laptop computer

How CryptoWall works

Infections can take place in a variety of ways, but the two most common are malicious links and email attachments.

When infected with CryptoWall, all useful files are irrevocably encrypted unless the victim decides to pay a ransom to receive their files back.


MSU students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to keep software and antivirus definitions on their computers up to date.

Additionally, there are several Internet safety tips that can lower your risk of becoming infected with CryptoWall.

  1. Don’t click on links within emails, especially if you don’t know the sender. If you’re suspicious, confirm the email is not fraudulent by reaching out to the sender via another method other than email.
  2. Don’t open attachments to emails if you don’t know the sender personally. This includes PDFs of invoices from UPS, complaint letters from the Better Business Bureau, or even retail coupons.
  3. Don’t click on ads along the sides or bottom of websites, even for sites you know and trust. These ads may point to malicious sites that appear innocuous.

How to get help

If you think your computer is infected with CryptoWall, disconnect it from any networks and please visit the MSU Computer Store – Help and Repair in room 120 of the Computer Center for computer support.

You can also call (517) 432-6200 for additional assistance.

Other safe computing resources

Michigan State University has an ongoing SecureIT campaign to educate the MSU community of safe computing practices.

Additionally, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).