Here in the last week: There has been a new type of ransomeware (virus/malware) that has been spreading around the internet. It comes in an email as a Microsoft Word document. Unless you were expecting a Microsoft Word document from someone you know, DO NOT OPEN IT. If you do open it and it asks you to “ENABLE MACROS” close it and delete it immediately.
See image below:
This new virus/malware will encrypt all of your files. The only way to get the files back is to purchase a key from the virus/malware writer themselves for around $250.00 to $400.00 dollars. Otherwise your files are encrypted forever.
Currently the antivirus program companies are trying to create a signature (antivirus cleaner) to counter this virus. Until then, open any and all Microsoft Word files with caution from anyone that sends them to you.
Just like any other virus and or malware – if you the computer user clicks on an infected file, the infected file (virus/malware) is smart enough to override your antivirus software and it will NOT SCAN the infected file and grants complete control to the virus and it will bypass all Antivirus programs. Which will mean you will get infected.
As always here is solid advice to follow:
- Backup regularly and keep a recent backup copy off-site. There are dozens of ways other than ransomware, viruses and malware that files can suddenly vanish, such as fire, flood, theft, a dropped laptop or even an accidental delete. Encrypt your backup and you won’t have to worry about the backup device falling into the wrong hands if lost or stolen.
- Don’t enable macros in document attachments received via email. Microsoft turned off the auto-execution of macros many years ago as a security measure. A lot of malware infections rely on somehow creatively asking you to turn macros back on – DON’T DO IT.
- Be cautious about unsolicited attachments. The bad-guys are always sending emails that look really to good to be true. They prey on our human behavior and emotions. If you do not know the person that sent it and was not expecting it? CALL that person and ask did you just send me an email with an attachment on it? Better safe then sorry!
- Patch early, patch often. Malware that doesn’t come in via document macros often relies on security bugs in popular applications, including Office, your browser, Flash and more. The sooner you patch, the fewer open holes remain for the crooks to exploit.