The Tuesday, March 29, 2016 edition of the CBS Evening news reported on a Washington D.C. area health provider system hit with a cyber attack. Health providers are among the many organizations under attack for ransomware. Four other hospitals have recently reportedattacks as well as leading websites such as MSN.
Ransomware and other malware and viruses don't just magically appear on a computer. Some action by the computer operator is needed. A common method of infection is via email with deadly attachments or innocent-looking links that redirect the reader to sites where the malware authors trick you into downloading malicious files.
The SANS December2011 Ouch! offers these indications of an email that may be risky:
- Any email that requires immediate action or creates a sense of urgency.
- Emails addressed to a generic salutation such as "Dear Customer".
- Emails containing spelling or grammar mistakes.
- Hover your mouse over a link in an email to show the true destination of that link
- Just don't click on links at all. Copy the URL from the link and paste it into the browser.
- Always be suspicious of attachments; only open attachments that you are expecting.
- An e-mail that appears to be from a friend may not be. If you get a suspicious email from a trusted friend or colleague, call them to confirm they sent it.
Ouch! also provides these suggestions:
- Minimize your risk of malware infection by increasing your suspicion level of every email that comes to your inbox.
- Toss that suspicious email into the deleted items folder without even reading.
- If you know and trust the sender, contact them to ask about the email.
Although the ESSD40 Technology Department does not need to know about every suspicious email you receive, you can forward the ones that have you very concerned to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll take a look at it. In contrast, always let the Technology Department know if you opened a suspicious attachment or clicked on a suspicious link in a known phishing or scam email.