Locky Ransomware Emailed to 23 Million Users
Ransomware is not new, as anyone with a reliable electrical supply knows by now. Variants are many. Results are the same. Ransomware encrypts every data file on your computer, rendering them unusable until you pay the ransom demanded by the cyber criminals who infected your computer.
The delivery mechanisms are very simply:
- Infected web servers
- Your own email
Locky branded ransomware has been around for about 18 months now, has been released in several variants and has infected millions of computers in its lifetime. The cost to consumers and institutions has been staggering. There is no “fix” for Locky. No magic bullet exists to remove the encryption. Once you are infected you either pay the ransom or lose your data (in the absence of a current backup).
The latest iteration of Locky targeted over 23 million users in the United Dates over a span of 24 hours via an email campaign with a random assortment of subjects.
According to researchers, these emails were “extremely vague,” with subjects lines like “please print,” “documents,” “images,” “photos,” “pictures,” and “scans” in an effort to entice victims into infecting themselves.
How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware
Ransomware has become one of the biggest threats to both individuals and enterprises with the last few months happening several widespread ransomware outbreaks, including WannaCry, NotPetya, and LeakerLocker.
Currently, there is no mechanism available to decrypt Locky encrypted files, so users are strongly encouraged to follow prevention measures.
Delete Phishing emails: Always be suspicious of email attachments. Never click on links inside emails or attached documents prior to verifying the source.
Backups: To avoid permanent loss of data, keep a thorough backup running that saves your data in two places:
- Ransomware protected cloud-based backup (I recommend and use BackBlaze)
- External hard drive (not always connected to the computer)
Keep your Antivirus software up-to-date: Always keep your antivirus software updated to protect against latest threats. I ONLY recommend, use and sell AVG Business Edition and CloudCare products. With over 4,000 installations, I have yet to see a client infected. ALL Antivirus products require fine-tuning to be fully effective. NO Antivirus product is protecting you effectively “out of the box“.
If you want to read all the gory details of this new Locky variant, follow this link for a blow-by-blow tear-down of the latest threat.