Don’t be caught out by ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks computer systems and demands a fee for their release.

One of the fastest growing cyber threats, ransomware is often undetected by many antivirus systems because it’s technically not a virus.

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Ransomware encrypts files rendering them virtually impossible to decrypt without an unlock code.

The use of ransomware scams has grown internationally over the last few years; security software vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected over 250,000 unique samples of ransomware in just a few months and the first cases on Apple Macs have now been reported

We are aware that new variants of ransomware have been released and are infecting many organisations and home computers. They encrypt files on a computer and add extensions such as locky, decrypt, bitcoin, or .mp3 file.

A ransom is then demanded, usually via bitcoin to decrypt them. The attackers behind these use massive spam campaigns and compromised websites.

In most cases, these arrive in an email with an attached Office document containing a malicious macro. If you open the document, it tries to encrypt your files with the ransomware. Other variants sometimes arrive as a .zip file. The emails are mainly fake invoices, that look geniune, and seem to come from legitimate senders or companies.

It is always good practice NOT to open an email or attachment if you receive an unexpected email from an unknown or questionable source, but please be aware of this and should you have any doubts or concerns, please call us immediately before opening so we can double check and help to keep your computers and network safe. If your machine gets infected the first thing to do is unplug your machine from the network and remove power from it and phone for support.

This piece is written for information only to raise awareness and provide caution.