We would like to alert you to a destructive instance of ransomware that is circulating. This poses a significant security risk and has affected over 10,000 Australians including the University of Wollongong.
This Scam infects computers & holds them hostage. The email, in this instance purporting to be from energy company AGL, sends a fake bill and prompts the recipient to click on a link to download a copy.
It then saves a .zip file on the computer which, when extracted, locks the machine down using malware known as “ransomware”. The recipient is prompted to pay $US640 ($A880) to unlock it.
It can cause widespread damage as it gains access to legitimate corporate emails which it then uses to send the scam on, it has potential to access personal information. The email address and website URLs it uses would look legitimate to most users.
If you receive an email like this you should delete it immediately. If you are infected, do not pay the ransom, even if paid the malware will continue to monitor your computer. The only way to get rid of it is to restore from a backup or to wipe the computer and start over again.
This is why it is important to have a disaster recovery strategy. You should touch base with your IT provider to ensure your backup procedures are in place and working. If you don’t currently have an IT provider we can help you with this.
Here is some relevant reading from the Illawarra Mercury:
Please make sure your data is safe and contact us if you have any concerns.