Yet another malicious virus is catching out unsuspecting Windows’ users. This time the nasty scam is impersonating Microsoft in order to hack into users’ files then hold them to ransom.
This new scam is tricking Microsoft users who are eagerly awaiting upgrades to the new Windows 10 operating system, by using a clever ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ email address to lure in its prey.
The scam starts its life as a harmless-looking email that appears in your inbox. At first, it probably won’t ring alarm bells, but on closer inspection you may notice weird characters in the body of the email, along with telltale grammatical errors and an IP address that shows the sender is based in Thailand. See the image below for a visual description.
And don’t take any notice of the disclaimer that says the email’s content is virus free. It’s just another way to get you to click on the attached file, which, once extracted, will display an image (below) to let you know you’ve been had. If you see this image, your files have been ‘kidnapped’ and you have four days to pay a ransom to recover them.
One way to ensure that you don’t fall for this scam is to remember that your Windows 10 update will appear directly on your PC and NOT via email.
You can also protect yourself from ransomware by doing the following:
- always back up your data frequently (i.e. minimum weekly) and store them offline (i.e. external hard drive)
- be wary of spam and stay away from illicit websites
- install antivirus software and keep it up to date
- if in doubt, don’t click it.
Find out more about this scam at www.zdnet.com