News

News Items

Malware targeted at "Cyber Monday" shoppers

Posted Date: 28 Nov 2016

Please be extra vigilant online over the next few weeks, both at work and at home. As the online Christmas shopping period peaks, malware writers are targeting their campaigns at online shoppers.

The following message was sent on 28/11/2016 to all NES staff from our Information Governance team.


Dear colleagues

Please be extra vigilant online over the next few weeks, both at work and at home. As the online Christmas shopping period peaks, malware writers are targeting their campaigns at online shoppers.

One example is a campaign that targets users with emails that claim to originate from Amazon. The email informs the user that a purchase has been sent out for delivery and usually telling the user what courier service they are using. This is done in the hope that users will click to see what it is. As with most campaigns, a malicious attachment is included in the email. If the user is unfortunate enough to open the attachment, the user will ultimately be infected with the Locky ransomware variant.

This ransomware will try to encrypt all of your data - both on local disks and on network drives. At work this can cause a serious incident and impact on delivery of care. At home this could mean you find your photos, documents, music, etc. are all encrypted with a ransom of up to hundreds of pounds to get them back.

Given today ("Cyber Monday") is the largest online shopping day of the year, it is likely that this campaign will snare many who would otherwise be more vigilant. The Locky campaign described above will not be the only approach the criminal groups use; we anticipate that multiple campaigns will be active in the coming days.

Actions:

  • Be extra vigilant around the websites you are visiting. Always make sure the address is the correct address.
  • Be extra vigilant and careful around the emails you receive. If you don't recognise the email, don't open it! (or at least if you are in any doubt don't open any attachments!)
  • Ensure your anti-malware products are kept up-to-date and have the latest definitions.
  • Apply all operating system and software updates (at work this should be handled for you, at home do this yourself!)
  • Use strong passwords, and use different passwords on different sites – this might seem like a pain but if one of your passwords is hacked you don't want it to give access to every site. (In particular, do not use your NES passwords on non-work sites.)
  • Backup your important data (At work use SharePoint online and OneDrive. At home get a USB drive and take a backup of everything important or setup a cloud backup with a reputable provider)
  • Be aware that high profile shopping events are likely to lead to shopping related phishing campaigns so be extra careful with emails and messages on social networks, especially with shopping offers, great deals, etc. Try to stick to shopping sites you recognise, and instead of clicking on links in emails just enter the URL directly or use your own shortcuts and favourites

Sometimes information security is seen as an inconvenience - but it's a lot less inconvenient than having your precious digital photos encrypted and you having to pay to recover them. Stay safe out there.

More info: https://www.getsafeonline.org

Regards

This page was last updated on: 28/11/2016