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Beware of the new Cryptovirus – ‘Locky’

2016-03-22

We’re raising awareness of the latest cryptovirus, known as ‘Locky’. A new strain of randsomware aimed at encrypting your important files and documents. Locky is being sent out via email, disguised as an invoice or email attachment, so the need to be vigilant remains as important as ever. As SortmyPC provides outsourced IT support for 100+ SME’s we are very much aware of the risks organisations face from virus or randsomware attacks.

Like all ransomware, the ‘Locky’ virus works by encrypting your data and requiring you to pay for the key to unlock it. You will know if your data has been encrypted if your important documents have the file ending ‘.locky’. The risk is real and we’d urge you to be extra vigilant when opening emails that look in anyway suspicious. If you fall victim to the virus, the cyber criminals will demand payment in the region of  0.5 – 1 bitcoin – one bitcoin is currently worth about £280.

This particular strain of malware is hidden in email attachments, usually a Word or Excel document, and is designed to look like an invoice. However if you open the attachment it will usually be blank or look like a jumble of letters and words that make no sense. Look closely before you open an email, often the subject matter will be misspelt or the wording will seem odd. If you receive an email which you are suspicious about our advice is to:

  • delete the email straight away – do not open it.
  • do not click on the ‘enable editing’ button which appears when you open an email.
  • even if the source of the email is trustworthy but the subject heading raises your suspicion, delete and contact the source to resend.
  • if you think you have opened a suspicious email close down your computer immediately.
  • to stop the malware spreading you should shut down your server straight away or call us and we will shut it down remotely.
  • do not pay anything to the cyber criminals before you have contacted us for help recovering your data.

In this case it really is better to be safe than sorry if you are in anyway suspicious about an email you receive. For advice on IT security, anti virus software or if you are worried about the risk of a randsomware attack contact us to arrange a consultation.

You can find out more about the crytpovirus ‘Locky’ on these websites –

http://thehackernews.com/2016/02/locky-ransomware-decrypt.html

http://arstechnica.co.uk/security/2016/02/locky-crypto-ransomware-rides-in-on-malicious-word-document-macro/

“Locky” ransomware – what you need to know