As we start to raise the standards of protection for connected devices and computers, we are also starting to see a great deal of increased creativity from those who are trying to access personal data and information contained within them – and hold that content to ransom. The latest threat is ingeniously presented as an incoming fax report with a zip file attached – the zip file contains an SCR, or Windows executable file. If you unfortunately decide to launch this file then you’re going to end up with some serious issues as it contains Trojan.Encoder.514, which will encrypt your files and hold them to ransom until you pay up.
We have seen a recent surge in the popularity of online fax sending services and it is obviously this that has inspired the creation of malware that uses this as a cover. If you accidentally download this ransomware by opening that zip file there’s no change to the file extensions but instead ‘!crypted!’ appears at the start of the file names. This is a pretty horrible type of ransomware as at the moment there is no other way of decrypting the affected files other than paying the ransom.
To be on the lookout for this new type of malware, you should keep an eye out for fax reports – the fake ones often refer to something like payroll or salaries in order to try and get people to open the attachment. It’s also good advice not to open email attachments where you don’t know the sender and, even if you do, remember that people’s accounts can be hacked so if it seems like an odd link to send then just delete it. It’s also good practice to regularly back up all your files and ensure the back up remains disconnected when not in use.