Virus Alert!

Attention everyone!

There is a new virus that is floating around the internet and this one is a bad one! It is a new form of RansomWare that gives you no notice that it is installed (except slow performance speed), until it has already done its damage!

What is RansomWare?

A quick overview of RansomWare is any software that changes your files to a state that they are un-usable and then the creator attempts to extort money from you in order to get your files back.

The most common way of performing this is by encrypting your photos, documents, videos, music, etc. with 256-Bit AES encryption. This form of encryption is virtually impossible to decrypt. Unless you have thousands of computers trying trillions of password combinations for a few years, you will not get your files back for free. The creator of the virus then prompts you with a message stating that you have X amount of days to pay them X amount of money via a wire transfer or electronic funds in order to get the “Unlock Key”. This is by far the lowest of the low and is basically electronic terrorism.

Unfortunately, most antivirus programs cant protect against such viruses because they change code so frequently that it is hard to keep up with how it is detected.

How can I protect myself from being infected?

The best form of protection is being aware of how these viruses are installed, what to watch out for and practicing safe internet procedures. Here is a quick list of things to watch out for!

EMAIL:

Be sure to always verify any questionable E-Mail. This is one of the most popular transfer of RansomWare. It usually starts when you receive and E-Mail stating something similar to “Your UPS Package Receipt” or “Your invoice from {Company Name}”. These E-mails usually come with attachments that you are requested to open and are usually compressed files (.ZIP files). There are two ways to verify if the E-mail is legitimate and that is verifying that the E-Mail Domain is correct and always contact the company by phone to verify they were the ones who sent it.

Website Popups:

There are many sites that have pop-ups now-a-days. They usually have good intentions to just earn ad-revenue for themselves, but sometimes the popups are very deceiving. The most common pop-ups are requesting that you “Download the latest version of Java” or “Adobe Flash update required”. These are sites just trying to get you to download some form of virus. If some site tells you that you need to update a certain software, always go to the manufacturer site and download it directly from them.

Network Vulnerability:

Sometimes you can get viruses from someone near your network. If your network is not protected properly, your computer can become easily attacked from someone attempting to hack into your network. There are many tools that are openly available on the internet for someone to break into your network by using vulnerabilities in the operating system, router (open ports), or using false authentication. Always make sure that your network and computer are properly configured to keep unwanted guests out. This usually happens when using “Free” or “Public” wireless, such as at Starbucks, where computers are all connected to a shared network.

What if I am infected already?

Unless you have a backup system, which everyone should have to prevent loss of files, you are basically out of luck. The only two options you have will be to either pay the attacker what they want to get your files back, or accept the fact that the files are gone and reformat (wipe out) the computer. Options in these situations are very limited.

CONCLUSION:

RansomWare is by far the most destructive viruses that have ever been created. They truly do what they are made for and that is completely holding someones files “Ransom” until they get their demands. IT Factor has seen a total of 40+ cases here in El Paso. The worst we have seen is a data server being infected from the owner opening e-mail attachments. Unfortunately, they had not been using their backup system they paid for AT ALL! All data was lost including important financials, customer information, and all software was corrupt. If you have a backup system, use it DAILY. If you see questionable websites or E-Mails, DON’T OPEN THEM! If your going to use a public wifi, make sure your not sharing your personal/private files on that network!

If you would like to take an online training course on proper and safe internet browsing, please chat with out technicians at our Main Site to setup a training course.

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