Thursday, June 23, 2016

Computer Virus PSA

Well, it's been about *checks wrist where a watch would be, if I wore a watch* 4 years since my last post. I am making a brief return, and bringing with me a Public Service Announcement.

You've probably heard about the Crypto Locker viruses that have been going around. You open a link, and all your files get locked. If you back up your stuff regularly, you may be fine. You can delete the locked files, and restore from your backup. If you don't the only way to get your files unlocked is to pay the bastards that sent you the link.

The current one I've seen going around in Australia claims to be from AGL. Timely, since they've been in the news lately about how they'll be raising electricity prices again. When opened the email looks like this:

And if you click those links to view your bill, or see more details, you'll infect your computer with the Crypto virus.

If you look at the sender address, you will see it has nothing to do with AGL:

Sender addresses will vary, and sometimes they do try include the name of the company they're pretending to be from, but mostly they look pretty dodgy. But for a lot of people it's not something they routinely check, if they think the email is from someone they trust, or do business with.

I have also seen emails claiming to be from Australia Post saying you have a package to collect, and from the Australian Federal Police, saying you have a fine to pay.

Anyone can be fooled, so be careful, look at the sender address, and if you think something seems a bit off, don't click or download anything. Call the company directly, or send them email at an address you know you can trust - one you find on a bill, or their official website, and check if there really is a problem or deal you need to be told about.


River said...

I hope everyone I know reads this and remembers to NEVER click any links without first checking it out.

Andrew said...

Unlike many virus alerts, this one is serious. The price to unlock can vary hugely, from $50 to $500 but it does seem once you pay, the files are unlocked. If you follow the link in the email, your files get encrypted and it is almost impossible for anyone to unlock them without the key. It is a good alert to all.

Elephant's Child said...

Thank you.
I suspect they make a very good living from this scam.