Open this window and you’ll be letting Ransomware in

12 Dec

As if it could be possible, you should know that cybercriminals have become even smarter and sneakier in their approach…and you could be their next victim. If you’re the type of person that takes heed when Windows asks to be updated (and you go ahead with the update) there is a strong possibility that you are the target of an unscrupulous online criminal.

The latest Ransomware threat to take to our screens is a Windows update request that installs ransomware on your computer or phone. Before we delve a little deeper into this threat, let’s just refresh your memory… what is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software usually disguised as “safe to open” files in emails. The software is designed to block someone’s access to their computer or personal files until a certain amount of money is paid over to the criminal. In some cases, where the cyber-criminal has access to highly sensitive information, they may incentivise the ransom payment by threatening to publish sensitive data online or publicly. Most people are caught out with ransomware by opening emails and clicking on attachments or links, which they think are legitimate and safe.

The Latest Windows Update Ransomware

It’s been noted that one particular cyber-criminal has found a way to make it even more alluring for people to click on his/her ransomware links and files. This particular threat works the same as most ransomware threats, except the email appears to be coming from Windows and usually features a subject line that says something along the lines of “critical Windows update”. Of course, Windows users want to keep their systems up to date, ironically for security reasons, so they click on the file or link included.

Most computer and internet users have become savvy to fake emails over the years, usually when they take the time to read the body of the mail, or to check the email address. One of the tell-tale signs that an email is from a cyber-criminal is that they go into unnecessary depth and include a lot of information within the mail. This particular windows update email is different in that it is concise and provides no suspicious information leading the reader to believe that it might be a fake. The spelling, which is also often a tell-tale sign of trouble, is 100% correct.

The final proverbial nail in the coffin in this mail and another reason why someone might follow the link is that the executable file (this is the program that installs on your computer) is disguised as a .jpg image.

Latest Windows Ransomware Threat Opens the Doors for More Threats

Researchers and analysers analysing this latest attack have taken the time to see if the executable file leaves a trail and they have found seemingly disturbing evidence. The malware builder that the cyber-criminal used to create his ransomware program is actually hosted on the Github developer platform. This means that it is readily available to other cyber-criminals looking for a malware builder to create similar threats.

How You Can Protect Yourself from the Latest Windows Ransomware Threat

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from Ransomware. Reading posts like these keep you updated and informed, so you are already on the right track! Consider doing the following too:

  • Securely backup your data as soon as possible and ensure that the data backup is encrypted and password protected.
  • Choose an ‘impossible to guess’ password for your online backups and all of your cyber accounts.
  • Change your passwords regularly.
  • Check that your antivirus software is up to date.
  • Make sure that content and email filtering services are activated on all email accounts.
  • Train staff in the fine art of being suspicious about every email they receive. Have a no-click policy if the email is from an unknown source.

If you’re ready to get started, get in touch with the Soteria Cloud data backup team and start taking steps towards protecting yourself (and your data).

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