12th Oct 2017
Albert Einstein’s quote, “Our Technology has surpassed our humanity” truly represents the repugnant condition of our society today with cyber-attacks taking a toll on the entire world. Each day hackers are coming up with sophisticated technologies and malwares to counterfeit the security solutions being launched by the companies. A recent malevolent program that has hit the cyber industry is Locky ransomware that literally LOCKS away your files, until you pay ransom to decrypt them. It came forth in February 2016 and has been active since then.
How It Infects Systems
Usually sent through an email containing infected word or excel attachments, it is a malware that affects almost all versions of Windows. The malicious email contains a balderdash word document in encrypted form. Further the user is asked to enable macros to encode the incorrect data and that is when the real trouble starts.
Then actual encryption Trojan is downloaded with an intent to encrypt all the targeted files using AES encryption algorithm. All the filenames are converted into .locky file extension. These files cannot be operated by normal programs when once enciphered. The user is then sent ransom notes demanding 0.5 – 1 bitcoins in return of a decryption key.
Email: The Most Preferred Channel
Locky malware is generally sent via a word document attached in an email because it is the easiest way to trap and dupe the users. AppRiver, email and web security experts in one of their reports about it quoted, “In the past 24 hours we have seen over 23 million messages sent in this attack, making it one of the largest malware campaigns that we have seen in the latter half of 2017.”
How To Stay Safe From This Ransomware –
- Regular Backups – The best way to safeguard yourself is to take regular backups either online or offline. Keep your backup data in encrypted form to ensure that it does not fall into wrong hands.
- Be Wary About Suspicious Attachments – If you are sent an unusual email from an unauthorized sender make sure you do not open it. Attackers can masquerade and send you unsolicited emails containing malware. Beware of files with double extensions ending with .exe as there are higher chances of it containing virus.
- Do Not Enable Macros – Ransomware is usually sent to the user in the attached encrypted file, which persuade them to enable macros resulting in files bring encrypted by locky. Make sure you do not enable macros for emails send by an unknown source. Also permanently keep the default Microsoft macros disabled.
- Update Your System – Regularly updating and patching your system and applications can help you to prevent the attack to some extent.
- Microsoft Office Viewers – Install the app on your system, as it allows you to view what documents look like without actually opening them.
It is important to adopt all security measures well in advance and educate yourself and your employees about Locky ransomware attack to prevent it in the first instance.
For more tips on preventing Locky Ransomware, feel free to contact Centex Technologies at (855) 375 – 9654.