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New Dangerous Variant of CryptoLocker Reaches Waikato. Do not click on unknown resumes!

In my nearly 30 years of advising clients on IT security I have never come across a more aggressive and successful piece of malware as CryptoLocker. ‘Successful’ from the angle of the perpetrator, not from the perspective of the network owner, regrettably. Since the beginning of this year, HTG has been aware of wave after wave of CryptoLocker attempts on Waikato businesses. Unfortunately, sufficient of these attacks were effective to cause a lot of disruption and consequential monetary loss to the victims.

To some degree networks can be protected against CryptoLocker through technology. Clients who are subscribers to HTG Fortress, for instance, benefit from a higher level of protection than is obtainable from normal defences. However, there is nothing that can prevent successful infection through users momentarily or unknowingly letting their guard down and opening unsolicited email attachments or clicking on links to infected websites.

I believe that there wouldn’t be many users out there who are not aware that clicking on unsolicited email attachments or suspicious links is risky. However, the perpetrators are getting smarter and smarter and each new generation of Ransomware is dressing up to look more and more like legitimate correspondence.

For example, the newest Ransomware variant that is circulating around the Waikato and elsewhere is just a simple message offering a resume. It looks something like the picture on the left.

Subscribers to HTG Fortress will automatically be protected against this new variant. However, regardless of whether you are especially protected or not,

The Golden Rule is: never open attachments in unsolicited emails or click on links to webpages you don’t trust.

And if you are wondering why, like the burgers that you buy from McDonald’s anywhere in the world, these attacks have such a high degree of similarity and consistency no matter where they emanate from, read the article at the bottom.

If in doubt, please forward your email to the HTG specialist malware team at malwarecheck@htg.co.nz and we will advise you on its authenticity. This service is FREE to all members of the Waikato Chamber of Commerce.

How can you help yourself avoid infection:

  • Use and regularly update your anti-virus and anti-malware software. Please note that antivirus software is not perfect but it can still catch a large percentage of malware and reduce noise. If you want to be more protected, install proper anti-malware such as Malwarebytes. For more information this please click HERE.
  • Keep your operating system and applications up-to-date – install the latest patches. If you still have machines running Windows XP or Windows Server 2003, consider upgrading them.
  • Do not open attachments in emails unless you are 100% certain that they are authentic.
  • Do not click on links unless you are 100% certain of what they are.
  • Make sure all of your files are regularly backed up.

If you need assistance with checking if your network is sufficiently protected against the above or any malware, or if you want help to improve protection, please contact our specialist team on 0800 484 4357.

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